Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(L-R) Executive Vice President for the Agriculture Division of the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company James Collins, President and CEO of Dow AgroSciences, LLC, Tim Hassinger, CEO of Syngenta International AG Erik Fyrwald, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience North America Jim Blome, and Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Monsanto Company Robb Fraley testify during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee September 20, 2016 on Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on 'Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry.' (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With 'Merger From Hell' Reportedly Approved by DOJ, Warnings of Agrichemical Chokehold on Food System

Watchdog groups raise concerns after Wall Street Journal reports that Bayer's bid to acquire Monsanto has been approved.

Andrea Germanos

Watchdog groups sounded alarms on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the proposed mega-merger of Bayer and Monsanto has cleared its final regulatory hurdle in the United States. 

The reported approval from the Justice Department came "after the companies pledged to sell off additional assets," the Journal reported, and despite concerns raised by hundreds of food and farm groups. It also comes weeks after the European Commission gave its thumbs up.

"The approval of the third supersized seed merger, after ChemChina-Syngenta and Dow-DuPont," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, "leaves farmers vulnerable to price gouging for seeds and other supplies and strengthens the hold a few dominant corporations have over the entire food system."

"The Justice Department's rubber stamping of these three seed mega-mergers transforms the already concentrated agrichemical and seed market, effectively reducing the number of competitors from six to three," she added.

Because it will make it harder for farmers to acquire non-genetically modified seeds to plant, it "makes it harder for agriculture to get off the GMO-chemical treadmill that just keeps increasing in speed," she said.

With its reported stamp of approval, the pending merger shows that "the federal government is not taking the impact of corporate control of our food supply seriously. It's time for Congress to establish a moratorium on mega-mergers in the food system," Hauter argued.

Jason Davidson, food and technology campaign associate with Friends of the Earth, was equally critical in his reaction to the development.

"The Department of Justice has decided that corporate profits matter more than the interests consumers and farmers. This decision will massively increase the power of major agrichemical companies that already have a stranglehold on our food system," he declared in a statement.

He went on to lament that "American farmers will see increased seed prices, fewer options, and decreased bargaining power." Echoing Hauter's warning, he argued. "This merger from hell will further entrench the failing model of toxic, chemical intensive agriculture, which is poisoning people and the planet."

A recent poll found that nearly 94 percent of farmers expressed concern that a Bayer-Monsanto merger would have a negative impact on independent farmers and their communities. It also found that 89 percent of farmers said they believe the merger would lead to increased pressure for chemically-dependent farming.

Shares of Monsanto, meanwhile,  jumped 6.6 percent following the Journal's reporting on the $66 billion takeover by Bayer.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Appeals Court Orders Release of Secret Memo Barr 'Used to Undercut the Mueller Report'

While the DOJ has not announced whether it will appeal, a spokesperson for the watchdog behind the case said that "the American people deserve to know what it says. Now they will."

Jessica Corbett ·


Trans Girls in Utah Can Play School Sports After Judge Blocks Discriminatory Law

"Our daughter just wants the same chance as other kids to make friends and play on the team she loves," said one parent plaintiff. "Today's ruling gives her the opportunity to do that."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Deeply Dangerous Nonsense': Treasury Dept. Debunks GOP Lies About 87,000 Armed IRS Agents

The intensity with which Republicans "are coming at this is really a testament to how important these resources are going to be—because there are many wealthy tax evaders that stand to lose a lot," said one official.

Kenny Stancil ·


Michigan Judge Blocks Enforcement of 'Dangerous and Chilling' 1931 Abortion Ban

The decision is a "welcome" development "but our work continues," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vowing to use "every tool in my toolbox to fight like hell for women and healthcare providers."

Jessica Corbett ·


Tlaib Says Biden Must 'Hold Israel Accountable' for Raid on Palestinian Rights Groups

"The silence by our country is enabling more death and violence," said the U.S. congresswoman.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo