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Concerned Over Growing Power of Big Ag, States Joining DOJ Probes of Mega-Mergers

Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto mergers will now face additional scrutiny as they seek to consolidate global GMO/pesticide industry

More economic power will mean even more crops will be grown with dangerous herbicides. (Image: SumofUs)

More economic power will mean even more crops will be grown with dangerous herbicides. (Image: SumofUs)

Two pending mega-mergers between agribusiness giants—Dow-DuPont and Bayer-Monsanto—are reportedly facing scrutiny from a number of U.S. states concerned over the intense consolidation of the global genetically modified organism (GMO) and pesticide industries.

Citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the investigations, Reuters reported Monday that seven state attorneys general have joined the Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into the $130 billion Dow-DuPont merger while an unknown number of states "would join the Bayer-Monsanto merger investigation."

"The states are concerned that the companies may raise pesticide and herbicide prices for farmers following a merger, and have less incentive to compete to introduce better and cheaper products, two of the sources said," the news outlet reported. 

And while the federal government is the only entity that can file a lawsuit to stop a merger, the involvement of the states "increases scrutiny of the mega deals," while at the same time "provid[ing] information on how the mergers would affect their jurisdictions and conduct joint calls to gather data from the companies, as well as critics and supporters of the deals," Reuters notes.

According to the sources, the state probe into the $66 billion Bayer-Monsanto deal would specifically examine both companies' GMO or genetic traits holdings.

Should that deal go through, "the new mega-chemical/seed company would control 29 percent of the world's seed market and 24 percent of the pesticide market," Martha Rosenberg and Ronnie Cummins, both with the Organic Consumers Association, recently noted.

And if the Dow-DuPont merger is successful, the new conglomerate would hold "41 percent of the market for U.S. corn seeds and [genetic] traits and 38 percent of the U.S. soybean seeds and traits market," Reuters reported.

The risk of all this consolidated power, as Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter recently explained, is that

Big Agribusiness would have even more economic power over farmers, increasing the prices they pay and limiting their choices for seeds and farm inputs. Even more crops will be grown with dangerous herbicides like glyphosate that have been linked to the growth of superweeds as well as cancer. And lobbying groups will continue to sway the debate over GMOs, thanks to their millions of dollars spent on marketing and misleading people about so-called benefits while downplaying the risks.

Monsanto shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Bayer takeover next month while the Dow-DuPont deal is expected to close early next year should it win approval.

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