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Congress looks into Dow-DuPont merger and other agri-business consolidation

Dow Chemical
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this week that could affect the planned merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He called the special hearing into Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry. Grassley is concerned major consolidation in the agri-chemical industry will mean less competition and hurt American farmers.

“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,” Grassley said.     

That’s a big concern for Michigan farmers.

“The farmer’s the one that doesn’t have the ability to pass that … additional cost on to their customer. That’s the unfortunate spot agriculture most often in,” says John Kran, the Michigan Farm Bureau’s national legislative counsel. 

Tuesday’s hearing will include testimony from top officials with Midland-based Dow Chemical, DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer and several national agri-business and farming groups.

Dow spokeswoman Rachelle Schikorra says the Midland company’s representative will testify “about the pro-competitive aspects of the merger and how we will be better able to help farmers by providing greater choice, more innovative products, and competitive price for value, ultimately increasing grower productivity and profitability.”

Officials with Midland-based Dow still hopes to complete the $130 billion merger with DuPont by the end of the year. The plan is for the merged company to eventual divide into three smaller chemical businesses, each focusing on a different area.

But European regulators could delay that until next year.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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