Over 300 food and farm groups Urge Jeff Sessions to oppose agricultural mega-mergers
Call on new DOJ leader to put farmer, consumer, worker interests above corporations
(Washington, DC) - Nearly 325 farming, beekeeping, farmworker, religious, food safety, and conservation advocacy groups today urged the US Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation into the proposed mergers of the world's largest agrochemical and seed companies. Groups urged Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General, to enjoy the mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina on the grounds that they will drive up food and farming costs, threaten global food security, curtail innovation, threaten the health of farmworkers, and limit farmer choice. This letter comes on the heels of the Senate's vote to confirm Senator Sessions to be the head of the Department of Justice. The letter was also delivered today to members of Congress and state attorneys general.
"Farmers across the country know that these mergers will result in fewer options and higher prices for the inputs we rely on We have seen what happens when too many companies control too much of the market. , and these mergers would only make a bad situation worse, "said Mike Weaver, president, Organization for Competitive Markets.
" The decline in the quality of plant breeding for conventional varieties and the corresponding increase in use of crop chemicals will continue, the merged companies narrow their interests yet to a few number of products likely to bring in the greatest profit for those biotech companies. GMO seeds have been the favorite for companies like Monsanto, Dow and Syngenta because they boost the sale of pesticides, "said Aaron Lehman, a grain farmer and president of Iowa Farmers Union. p>More news: Veragua Rainforest & amp; Research
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"These agrichemical company mergers would be harmful to our environment, farmers and the American public," said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner, Friends of the Earth. American people, workers and farmers above the interests of mega corporations and conduct an independent review process of political interference. ""These mergers pose an ever greater threat to the health, livelihoods and human rights of farmworkers who are on the front lines of toxic agricultural chemical exposure," said Jeannie Economos, Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator, Farmworker Association of Florida . "These proposed mergers only bring more power and influence on the side of agribusiness, which contributes to but does not pay for the health impacts on families of the chemicals they produce. People should not pay with their health and lives for the profits of these mega-corporations. "
" The concentrated corporate control of seed markets threatens farmers' traditional practices of developing, saving and exchanging locally-adapted seed in the United States and "said Denise O'Brien, founder of Women's Food and Agriculture Network and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America board vice-president. .
If all three deals were to close, the newly created companies would control nearly 70 percent of the world's pesticide market, more than 61 percent of commercial seed sales and 80 percent of the US corn-seed market.
"Bayer AG-Monsanto company would control 70 percent of the Southeast cottonseed market, which would increase the price by 18 percent. I am and corn prices would also rise, putting farmers' livelihoods at risk even more, "said Mississippi farmer Ben Burkett, National Family Farm Coalition president and Federation of Southern Cooperatives representative.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Senator Sessions about his views on these mergers and his approach to anti-trust matters during his confirmation hearings. His answers were evasive and vague.