2017 was Year of Ag Mergers and NAFTA Backup for Farmers
**As 2017 quickly draws to a close, we can look back on a year when mergers and acquisitions picked up in the agricultural sector.
According to agriculture.com, the Big Six in the Ag seed, chemical, and traits area, BASF, Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, and DuPont, are rapidly becoming the big four, BASF, Bayer-Monsanto, DowDuPont, and ChemChina-Syngenta.
Current conditions mimic 1999, when Novartis and AstraZeneca merged and subsequently spun off their agricultural enterprises into Syngenta.
**Farmers need to have a backup plan in the event the U.S. exits the North American Free Trade Agreement.
That's according to U.S. undersecretary for trade and foreign ag affairs, Ted McKinney who tells Agriculture.com abandoning NAFTA still seems to be a real possibility amid reports negotiations aren't going as well as hoped.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says negotiators have made some progress, but adds there's no evidence Canada or Mexico are willing to "seriously engage."
**A new disaster aid bill in the House of Representatives, intended to provide some relief to parts of America devastated by natural disasters this year, includes a gift for dairy and cotton farmers.
According to agweb.com, the $81 billion disaster aid package contains a provision that makes cotton growers eligible for a commodity price support program under Title 1 of the Farm Bill along with eligibility for the Price Loss Coverage program.
Dairy producers would also receive some help by removing the $20 million cap on the Livestock Gross Margin program for dairy.