Op-Ed: Consolidation in Ag, Room for All

On March 27, 2018, Missouri Soybean Association CEO/Executive Director Gary Wheeler shared the following Op-Ed addressing the most recent regulatory decision related to the pending deal between Bayer and Monsanto. 

Last week, the European Commission gave its conditional approval for Bayer’s intended acquisition of Monsanto. While the deal that stands to make St. Louis the North American home of Bayer is far from closed, conditional approval represents an important step for this incredibly complex business venture and another opportunity for the companies to demonstrate their commitment to finding a path forward.

Adapting to the business environment isn’t something new in agriculture. It’s been necessary to hold our own in the global marketplace, to navigate the increasingly complex regulatory environment every step from the farm field to the end user, and to make an impact in the incredibly competitive and costly research and development arena.

The conditions set by the European Commission include selling or spinning off several well-known brands and divisions. The technology will continue to be available – maybe under a different name and logo – but still available to farmers. Our priority is ensuring farmers continue to receive the tools they need at a fair market value for the long run.

This is part of the process of adjusting to the commodity market’s cycles – commodity prices aren’t where they were 5-10 years ago. They dropped and are still down. Same for profit margins. Input prices, our regulatory burden and land values have all crept upward. Strategic partnerships, mergers, realignments, spin-offs and consolidation shouldn’t come as a surprise. Frankly, they should be expected from those who want to be in business long term.

This is not the end of small or mid-sized farms or companies, and it isn’t the end of family farms or family-owned businesses. There’s room at the table for us all, just as there always has been. It’s a matter of us all finding our place – where we best fit and stand to be most successful within the global marketplace.

Gary M. Wheeler
Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director
Missouri Soybean Association