Antitrust Lawyer Blog Commentary on Current Developments

Senator Grassley Calls For Hearings on Consolidation of Seed and Ag Chemical Industry

On August 23, 2016, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced a hearing on the increasing consolidation within the seed and chemical industry.

The hearing will be held in late September.  Senator Grassley said that “The seed and chemical industries are critical to agriculture and the nation’s economy, and Iowans are concerned that this sudden consolidation in the industry could cause rising input costs in an already declining agriculture economy.” The hearing will focus on the transactions currently being reviewed by antitrust regulators, and the current trend in consolidation of the seed and chemical industries.

While details have not been finalized, views from the companies under review by antitrust regulators, consumers and antitrust experts will all be represented at the hearing.  “In most instances when you have less competition, prices go up, and consumers pay more,” he said in an interview.

“In the case of agriculture, farmers are both consumers of [seeds and chemicals], as well as marketers of products.”  Grassley said the September hearing will aim to ensure that antitrust enforcers at the DOJ and the FTC are properly vetting the proposed deals of ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta and the Dow/DuPont merger.