Frank Comments: Lots of Worries at Monsanto

A proposed sale to Bayer, antitrust concerns, stockholder value, worries over future use of Roundup in Europe and a failure to be paid for GMO traits by farmers in India and Argentina are major concerns facing executives these days at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis. Unfortunately, few of these situations appear favorable to American farmers who are concerned that the proposed ag chemical company mergers will lead to even higher crop input prices.

If these sales and mergers are approved, the chart at lower left shows what seed and crop chemical market shares could look like. If all three changes take place, today’s six major players in the seed and crop chemical markets — BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Syngenta — could become the big four.

Bayer Offer.

After several weeks of speculation in early May, Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and chemical giant, offered $62 billion in cash for all of Monsanto’s stock. On May 24, the Monsanto board rejected the offer, but said it would listen to a higher offer.

Merging the two businesses might require Bayer to divest some seed traits along with its glufosinate herbicide that competes with Monsanto’s Roundup. As with the other proposed ag chemical mergers, look for the U.S. antitrust authorities to undertake heavy scrutiny while looking at the potential concerns to American farmers.

Glyphosate Ban in Europe?

In mid-May, a European Union vote on whether to renew approval for glyphosate was postponed for the second time this spring. The reason is…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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