Tester Introduces Bill to Halt Ag Mergers, Combat Corporate Consolidation

Senator’s efforts will protect family farmers and ranchers from reduced competition

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – As Montana farmers and ranchers fight off negative impacts from President Trump’s trade war, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is taking a major step forward to protect competition in the agriculture marketplace.

Tester is sponsoring the Food and Agribusiness Merger Moratorium and Antitrust Review Act to enact a temporary moratorium on mergers and acquisitions by agriculture businesses. Tester’s bill will strengthen the agriculture marketplace and reverse the cycle of consolidation that is killing small towns in Montana and across the country.

“Consolidation is one of the greatest threat to rural America,” said Tester, the Senate’s only working farmer. “Less competition means higher prices and fewer choices for small family farmers as they struggle to make ends meet. This bill will help put family farmers back in control of their futures by improving access to a competitive marketplace. Rural America cannot afford to see multi-national corporations put family farms out of business.”

In the 1960’s, 70 pesticide manufacturers provided chemicals for U.S. farmers. Today only four companies control the majority of pesticide production, a number that shrinks as companies like Bayer and Monsanto merge and consolidate. The new Bayer-Monsanto company also now owns 25 percent of the world’s seeds.

Now four companies control 85 percent of the beef market and 71 percent of the pork market.

The moratorium would be in place until Congress passes comprehensive legislation addressing market consolidation for both input and output agriculture markets.