Potential Impact of Big Ag Mergers

May 27, 2016

The world’s three largest seed companies are in talks about possible mergers. That could result in a broader definition of what it means to be an agricultural business and would create a new landscape for farmers buying seeds, fertilizer, and even machinery.

"They’re selling the seed, the chemicals, the fertilizer," says Chad Hart, Extension economist and associate professor at Iowa State University. "We may even see some combination where we see some ag machinery companies merging with some seed companies or some fertilizer companies."

The companies in merger talks - Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont Pioneer - together control more than 50 percent of the seed market. Hart says if the mergers go through, agriculture would still have a "Big Three," but each would be much more than just a seed company - selling fertilizer and other farm inputs as well. Hart made his comments while talking with Ben Kieffer on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River.

Other segments on the show include: analysis on Thursday night's U.S. Senate Democratic candidate debate with Des Moines Register chief political reporter Jason Noble, an interview with Pastor Chuck Kelsey on the efforts to bring Mason City residents together after a controversial city council decision, an explanation of how the release of thousands of stingless wasps may help in the fight against Emerald Ash Borer, and Iowa Department of Education director Ryan Wise talks about the ongoing effort to increase literacy for Iowa's K-12 students.