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PNS Daily Newscast - December 19, 2018 


A federal judge delays Michael Flynn’s sentencing after berating him in the courtroom. Also on Wednesday's rundown: The Trump asylum ban could go into effect at midnight; and North Carolina voters demand answers in an election-fraud case.

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NC Farms Watching Monsanto Merger Closely

North Carolina's multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry will be impacted by Bayer acquiring Monsanto. The pharmaceutical giant promises to help farmers grow more nutritious food. (Melinda Stuart/flickr)
North Carolina's multi-billion-dollar agriculture industry will be impacted by Bayer acquiring Monsanto. The pharmaceutical giant promises to help farmers grow more nutritious food. (Melinda Stuart/flickr)
June 5, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. – Monsanto, with offices in Research Triangle Park outside Raleigh, may be acquired by the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer. The company is known for aspirins, but it also is a key manufacturer of seeds and pesticides. This impacts North Carolina farmers who depend on vegetable seeds.

According to Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, the $6.25-billion deal will consolidate control of more than a quarter of the world's seed and pesticides market.

"This extreme consolidation drives up costs for farmers and it limits their choice of products in the marketplace," he says. "It also reduces the incentive for the remaining agricultural input giants to compete and to innovate through research and development."

Bayer CEO Werner Baumann says his company wants to help farmers grow more nutritious food in a more sustainable way. The Farmers Union, which advocates on behalf of 200,000 farmers and farm communities nationwide, has pledged to ensure that Bayer keeps its word.

The Department of Justice spent months reviewing the proposed merger and determined that it would limit competition, but gave it conditional approval anyway if it spins off $9 billion in assets. This includes the sale of Bayer's digital farming, seed and herbicide businesses.

Johnson says divestment is an approach the Trump administration is taking in lieu of imposing regulations that would be subject to regular review.

"While we appreciate the significant divestitures agreed to as a part of this approval, the Farmers Union condemns DOJ's continued rubber-stamping of mergers in the food and agriculture arena," he notes.

Critics say this merger shows that our monopoly laws are worthless, and a recent poll shows that 94 percent of farmers are concerned about the merger.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC