Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Farmers Weigh In on Syngenta Deal

ChemChina's takeover keeps China on course to become big supplier to the U.S. Farm Belt For U.S. farmers, China just got a lot closer. The $43 billion deal spotlights U.S. farmers' complex relationship with China, whose economic growth in recent decades has spurred demand for agricultural commodities ranging from pork to soybeans. China is the world's top consumer of both, and Syngenta's sale to ChemChina, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, has provoked both fears and hopes across the U.S. Farm Belt. Some farmers are optimistic that the deal will force China to take a more direct interest in the fortunes of U.S. farmers. But others remain wary of China's regulatory system that some have seen prioritizing national interests at U.S. farmers' expense, and some U.S. lawmakers have warned the deal could pose new food-security concerns.  But competition among the six big companies that dominate the $100 billion global market for seeds and pesticides has become a hot topic at grain elevators and Midwestern coffee shops over the past year as a succession of merger deals promises to reshape the business. In December, DuPont and Dow Chemical Co. announced plans to merge while German pharmaceutical conglomerate Bayer AG, which maintains an agricultural division, has proposed to buy Monsanto for $65 billion, though those companies have yet to agree on a deal. Some farmers prefer Syngenta selling itself to ChemChina versus merging with a direct competitor and further shrinking the field. "If you take the word 'China' out of this thing, the competition is still there," said Ken McCauley, who farms 4,500 acres of corn and soybeans near White Cloud, Kan...more

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