Farm group criticizes pending merger of DuPont and Dow

Wisconsin State Farmer
The pending merger bewteen DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. will create the largest agriculture biotechnology and seed firm in the United States.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The long-delayed $62 billion merger of chemical giants DuPont and Dow has been approved by U.S. antitrust regulators, drawing the ire of a national farm group.

The Justice Department announced on June 15 that it would approve the deal as long as the companies sell off some herbicide and chemical units to preserve competition. Those sales are already in the works.

The merger was originally announced in December 2015 and was initially expected to close in the first half of 2016. But it was delayed several times while U.S. and foreign regulators reviewed it.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson called the pending action a "disturbing trend in the agriculture sector" and the "continuance of failed national economic policy".

“Clearly, the Trump Administration is content allowing our country’s consolidation complex to continue. This is deeply disappointing, as it is this consolidation complex that has allowed for money and power to be drained from family farm operations and rural communities," Johnson said in a statement. "What’s resulted is lost jobs, lowered wages, inflated costs, decreased economic opportunity, depleted resources and services, depopulation, and an inability for those that remain in rural America to decide their economic future."

The combination of Dow and DuPont, coupled with other pending mergers, leaves family farmers with less competition and choice in the seed and agrichemical sectors, Johnson said.

"This drives up costs for farmers’ inputs, and it reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete and innovate through research and development," Johnson said.

The NFU President noted that Dow and DuPont produce essential, high quality seeds and products that farmers need.

"While we condemn the administration’s decision to allow the merger, we set our sights on ensuring the resulting seed and biotech firm keeps the promises made by Dow and DuPont to American family farmers and ranchers," he said. "This includes delivering localized solutions in seed and crop chemical innovation, increasing the productivity of American farmers and, most importantly, ensuring their profitability.”

Once merged, DuPont and Dow plan to spin off into three public companies: one focusing on agriculture, one on material science and one on specialty products.

European regulators approved the deal in March.

The new company will be called DowDuPont and have dual headquarters in Midland, MI and Wilmington, DE.