When the Arkansas state officials banned use of the weedkiller dicamba on corn and soybeans for the rest of this growing season, it was the latest roadblock in the search for an alternative to glyphosate, which is losing its effectiveness against some invasive weeds. A little over two years ago, when farm groups told the EPA that growers needed "new technology to address the weed control challenges on U.S. farms now," they meant Dow's combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, not dicamba.
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, introduced a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos over health concerns, after the EPA refused to take it off shelves earlier this spring. “Udall's bill calls for the EPA to conduct a broad review of the use of the pesticide to determine which groups are most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” says Reuters.
Dow Chemical and E.I. DuPont can carry out their planned $130 billion merger if they agree to sell off some of their pesticide and petrochemical business, said the Justice Department. Justice’s antitrust division said the divestitures would preserve competition in the ag chemical sector.
To satisfy EU regulators, U.S.-based Dow and DuPont offered to sell part of DuPont's crop protection business along with its associated research and development and Dow's business in copolymers and ionomers, said the News Journal. The companies hope to complete their $130 billion merge in the first half of this year.
The Justice Department review of the merger of Dow and DuPont is "pretty far down the road" and the arrival of Donald Trump as president is unlikely to affect the transaction, said DuPont chief executive Ed Breen in a Reuters interview. "I don't think it will have any impact," said Breen, who noted the review is being handled by career civil servants.
The man that would lead the agriculture division created by the merger of U.S. giants Dow and DuPont says the companies expect to close the merger by the end of this year despite ongoing antitrust reviews, said DTN.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Glassley of Iowa said he would hold hearings next month on "a wave of consolidation among seed and chemical producers, including the merger of Dow and DuPont," the Des Moines Register reported. The announcement came one day after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the $43 billion merger of ChemChina and Swiss-based Syngenta, which has significant operations in the United States.
The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission ought to collaborate in their review of two major mergers that affect the seed and ag chemical supply, said Senate Judiciary chairman Charles Grassley in a letter to regulators. "It is important that these transactions are not reviewed in isolation," wrote Grassley, noting that different regulators are handling each of the mergers, Dow-DuPont and ChemChina-Syngenta.
Anti-GMO activists addressed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Honolulu this week, in an effort to regulate GMO crops in three counties, reports The Seattle Times. The activists from Maui, Hawaii and Kauai, say they fear the pesticide use that comes with GMO production. All three counties have passed legislation limiting or outright banning GMOs. But after Monsanto and Dow Chemical sued in response, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled in 2014 that state and federal laws supersede county legislation, making the anti-GMO laws null and void.
The Justice Department should conduct “a careful analysis” of whether the proposed Dow-DuPont merger will create an agro-chemical giant that unfairly dominates seed and pesticide sales, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a letter to antitrust regulators.
The Justice Department should block the Dow-DuPont merger, which would create the largest seed and ag chemical company in the world, because it would unduly reduce competition in the sector, say a trio of legal, farm and consumer groups. The merger is part of a wave of consolidations that would turn the world's six biggest seed and ag chemical companies — Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, DuPont, Dow and BASF — into "a Big 4, dominated by a Monsanto-Bayer and Dow-DuPont duopoly," said the groups in a letter to regulators.
Dow, a major ag chemical company, is selling part of its herbicide business to Gowan Co. amid continued talk of consolidation in the sector, says Agrimoney. "The deal will include the trademark for Treflan, an herbicide that is used on field corn, cotton, and some fruits and vegetables."
The government withdrew its approval of Dow's Enlist Duo herbicide because the combination of two weedkillers is more powerful than originally believed and could endanger "non-target plants." The EPA acted just over a year after approving the herbicide, a combination of 2,4-D and glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world.
The weedkiller 2,4-D is "possibly carcinogenic to humans," says the International Agency for Research of Cancer, the same WHO agency that classified glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, as probably carcinogenic.
One year after launching the GMO Answers campaign on social media, "U.S. companies that develop GMOs have further committed to a multimillion-dollar campaign to defeat attempts to add GMO labels" to genetically engineered foods, says Reuters. A spokeswoman for GMO Answers says member companies have agreed to spend millions of dollars "for several more years on this campaign," says the story.