Rumored mega-merger proof of need for moratorium

(Denver) A rumored merger between agribusiness giants Monsanto and Novartis is yet another example of the need for Congress to pass today an 18-month moratorium on mergers in agriculture, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) said. The possible deal would combine two of the world’s largest agrochemicals firms, squeezing already hard-pressed farmers and ranchers. The Senate is scheduled to vote today on the moratorium bill sponsored by Sens. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. The measure was first advanced by Farmers Union last year. “If Congress fails to pass this measure, it will be like closing the barn door when the horse has already left,” said RMFU President Dave Carter. “It would be irresponsible to let this opportunity pass with this mega-merger in the works. How bad does it have to get? Congress has got to put a stop to this now to give farmers and ranchers a chance to survive.” Farmers Union also refuted arguments raised by other farm and industry groups who oppose the moratorium measure on the grounds that it would prolong the process. “The argument that this bill will delay progress on the issue is a red herring. This bill does nothing to stop Congress from acting immediately to address the issue of concentration,” Carter stated. “If anything, this legislation will help jump start action that is long overdue.”