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USDA Issues Report on Impact of Ag Mergers, Acquisitions
USAgNet - 04/11/2017

Agriculture in the United States uses less land, and far less labor, today than it did in the 1940s. Yet agricultural production grew by 169 percent between 1948 and 2013, with nearly all of it due to improvements in productivity. Biological, mechanical, chemical, and organizational innovations from both public and private sector investments in research and development (R&D) have largely driven this productivity growth.

Private-sector research has focused primarily on seeds, crop-protection chemicals, and farm machinery. A handful of global firms (known as the "Big Six") dominate private-sector research on both seeds and crop-protection chemicals: BASF and Bayer, from Germany; the U.S. firms Dow Chemical, DuPont, and Monsanto; and the Swiss firm Syngenta.

Each firm combines pest control and seed businesses. Their pest control products consist primarily of chemical pesticides, but also include biological products and seed treatments. The seed businesses include sales of crop seeds, as well as genetically modified seed traits placed in their own seeds or licensed to other seed firms, and tools for genetic modification, which can also yield fees when licensed to other firms.

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