As you have probably heard, Bayer and Monsanto want to merge – creating the world’s largest Agribusiness company. This massive company would have an unprecedented level of control over the vegetables we eat, the commodity crops that form the staples of most processed foods, and even the cotton we wear.
For farmers, this merger will have dramatic consequences for the price and availability of seeds. The combined company will own the seed for about 70 percent of all US-grown cotton, along with the patented genetics for over 90 percent of all seed for corn, soybean, cotton, and canola. In addition, Bayer+Monsanto will be the world’s largest seed company for vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, carrots, and onions.
Farming and food organizations across the country are working to stop the Bayer-Monsanto merger, and we need your help!
There are three action items listed below, and each of them is important! We’ve provided sample scripts to make it as easy as possible – but adding your own words will make an even greater impact. Acting on all three requests should take no more than 15 minutes … and whatever you can do will help.
If you are a farmer, be sure to indicate that in the very beginning of your call or letter.
TAKE ACTION #1: Urge Your State Attorney General to Join the Federal Investigation
State Attorneys General have the authority to investigate acquisitions and mergers and to join in with the U.S. Department of Justice. Several state AG’s have already joined the investigation, and we need more to follow their example! Please call and email your state Attorney General and ask that they join the Department of Justice’s investigation into the Bayer-Monsanto merger.
Texas: Attorney General Paxton has an online contact form at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/contact-form/, and we have more information posted at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/texans-oppose-monsanto-bayer-merger/
All other states: Simply do an online search with your state name and “attorney general.” Each AG’s website should have their contact information.
Sample phone or email script:
My name is _________, and I’m a resident of (your state).
I’m calling to ask our Attorney General to join the federal investigation by the Department of Justice into the Bayer-Monsanto merger, which would allow one company to dominate US food production.
Farmers can barely make a living now, and this merger will make a bad situation even worse by increasing the prices farmers pay for seeds and other inputs. If this merger goes through, it is projected that the price of cotton seed could rise over 18 percent as a result, according to a study from Texas A&M University; and a combined Bayer-Monsanto would control 70 percent of the southeast cottonseed market.
This is being proposed in the midst of multiple mergers – between Monsanto and Bayer, Dow and DuPont, and Syngenta and ChemChina. These mergers are inherently anti-competitive. Allowing these companies to merge will eliminate what’s left of head-to-head competition. It will become harder for new companies to enter the market, and independent seed companies will suffer when licensing costs increase.
The overwhelming majority of this $60 billion-dollar deal is being financed by debt. The only way this debt can be retired is by slashing research & development, firing employees and by raising prices of seeds and chemicals on the backs of family farmers.
It is my understanding that to date, several state Attorneys General have joined the federal antitrust investigation. It is vital that our state join these investigations to increase scrutiny of the deal, on behalf of both the farmers and consumers in our state.
[your name and address]
TAKE ACTION #2: Urge Your Members of Congress to Oppose the Merger
Please contact both of your U.S. Senators and your Representative, and urge them to take a strong stand against concentrated corporate powers and oppose the Bayer-Monsanto merger. While the Department of Justice will make the final decision, members of Congress are key influencers. Their opinion matters!
Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give them your zip code, and asked to be connected to your legislators. It’s three calls, but each one takes only a minute!
Sample phone script:
Hi, my name is _________, and I’m a constituent of (Representative or Senator) ___________.
I’m calling to ask him/her to oppose the Bayer and Monsanto merger, which would allow one company to dominate US food production.
This merger would spell disaster for American farmers and consumers who will see food costs go up and innovation decline.
Again, I’m calling to ask him/her to oppose the Bayer and Monsanto merger.
TAKE ACTION #3: Share Your Concerns with the U.S. Department of Justice
Ultimately, it’s up to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop the Bayer-Monsanto merger. Please call the DOJ Comment Line at 202-353-1555 and share your concerns about the merger.
Hi, my name is _________, and I live in [state]. I am a (specify whether you are a farmer or a consumer – DOJ needs to hear from both!)
I’m calling to ask the DOJ to reject the proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger, which would allow one company to dominate US food production.
This merger would spell disaster for American farmers and consumers who will see food costs go up and innovation decline. [Pick 2-3 of the additional talking points below]
Again, I’m calling ask the DOJ to stop the Bayer and Monsanto merger.
If this merger happens, Monsanto-Bayer will be:
- The world’s largest vegetable seed company, with a virtual lock on broccoli, carrots, and onions.
- The world’s largest cotton seed company, controlling the seed for about 70% of all the cotton grown in the US.
- The world’s largest manufacturer and seller of herbicides.
- The world’s largest owner of the intellectual property/patents for herbicide-tolerance seed traits. (An herbicide-tolerance trait is the gene that is inserted into the seed that allows the crop to withstand the use of the herbicide, e.g. Roundup, one of Monsanto’s top-selling chemicals).
- In short: Monsanto-Bayer will dominate US food production and other major agricultural industries.
The results will be bad for both farmers and consumers:
- Input prices for farmers will go up.
- Options, both for seeds and other inputs, will go down.
- There will be more herbicide use on fields and farms.
- There will ultimately be fewer choices for consumers seeking healthy foods.
Looking more at the anti-trust issues:
- We are putting the future of all food innovation into the hands of a very limited number of companies.
- Farmers do not reap the benefits of technological innovation. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences have found that the prices farmers pay for agricultural goods from Monsanto and Bayer exceed the benefits promised from the innovations. Diana Moss of the American Antitrust Institute’s testimony last year stated that “[S]eed price increases have outpaced yield increases over time—the very problem that biotechnology is purportedly designed to solve.”
- Less innovation means these companies will double down on biotechnology and reinforce their most profitable products, while fewer alternative or truly innovative options become available to farmers and consumers.
- Prices are going to go up: A Texas A&M study predicted an 18% increase in cotton seed prices, 2.3% increase for corn, and 1.9% for soybeans.
- Monsanto is widely known for its anti-competitive business practices. It often engages in predatory practices, from suing farmers for patent infringement to using its patents to drive competitors out of the market. Less than a decade ago, DOJ investigated seed and herbicide practices and came close to suing Monsanto. Instead, Monsanto agreed to voluntarily change some of its behavior. A merged Bayer-Monsanto is simply another way to drive out competition – and the DOJ needs to act this time.
The National Family Farm Coalition (of which FARFA is a member) has additional information about the merger on its website. READ MORE.
And Friends of the Earth, Open Markets, and Sum of Us just released their report on how this merger also would give Bayer-Monsanto a lock on technology-based agricultural services. READ MORE.