Trump ag advisor urges him to block ‘mega-mergers’
A top agricultural advisor to President-elect Trump’s transition team is urging Trump to block so-called “mega-mergers” in the ag industry.
Iowa agribusinessman Bruce Rastetter says the pending mergers of chemical and seed giants DuPont and Dow, and Monsanto and Bayer, will ultimately mean higher costs for farmers.
“There will be bundling of services, so if they combine chemical and seed and only those seed traits can take a certain chemical sold by that company, it’s naturally going to increase costs,” Rastetter says. “So concern about competition, concern about then the lack of innovation, lack of multiple companies we have and the concern for choice for farmers. And also I have been concerned that commodity groups have been tentative about saying something on this situation.”
Rastetter says the root cause of the problem is government regulation. He says it costs 150 million dollars to bring a new product to market.
“And then, not only the 150 million, but an uncertain timeline for when or if the government’s ever going to approve it,” he says. “So if we really want to get serious about this–yes, the mergers shouldn’t go through—but we should fix the government problem and I believe Donald Trump will do that.”
Rastetter is the CEO of Iowa-based Summit Agricultural Group. He is also president of the Iowa Board of Regents. Rastetter has been mentioned as a possible nominee for U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, but he says he has not talked directly with Trump about the position.
Radio Iowa contributed to this story.
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