05 October 2022, US: The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a lawsuit against Syngenta and Corteva for allegedly paying distributors to block competitors from selling cheaper generic products to farmers, according to an FTC news release. Ten states have joined the FTC in the lawsuit: California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin.
“For many years, Defendants Syngenta Crop Protection AG, Syngenta
Corporation, and Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (collectively, “Syngenta”) and Corteva,
Inc. (“Corteva”) have unfairly impeded competitors and artificially inflated the prices that
U.S. farmers pay for crop-protection products,” states the actual complaint, found at www.ftc.gov.
For Mitch Eviston, founder and CEO of Meristem Crop Performance, a new fast-growing provider of crop inputs, news of lawsuit was confirmation of his experience. “Through time, farmers have been sucked into paying for larger and larger multinationals that concern themselves more with Wall Street than all those Main Streets across the Corn Belt,” he says. “And at Meristem, we are showing more and more American farmers it doesn’t have to be that way.”
The complaint alleges several ways in which the defendants’ “loyalty” programs harm farmers, smaller manufacturers and consumers:
- Inflating prices for farmers: By stifling competitors, Syngenta and Corteva maintain artificially high prices for their products after patents expire.
- Inflating prices for consumers: Rising input prices are passed along to the end consumer.
- Suppressing competition and innovation: Loyalty programs deter distributors from bringing new products to market that compete with existing products.
Eviston says Meristem, with its growing list of dealer/partners, provides an highway for smart innovators who want to bring new technology to market to benefit growers. “Reducing waste in the channel and opening up a new pipeline for innovation that helps growers get a better ROI is key to our mission,” he says. “We want to help American farmers better compete in a global grain market and that means giving them to chance to keep more of every dollar they earn.”
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