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News Link • Food

Monsanto draws U.S. antitrust scrutiny

• United Press International

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Antitrust scrutiny of agriculture conglomerate Monsanto has high stakes for U.S. farmers and its competitors, analysts say.

With Monsanto's genetically altered corn and soybean seeds holding dominant positions in the U.S. markets, farmers have complained about their prices roughly doubling in the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

While the U.S. Justice Department under the Bush administration did not file any antitrust enforcement actions against Monsanto, that seems unlikely to continue under the Obama administration, the newspaper said.

Monsanto says farmers choose to buy its seeds, which are modified to withstand post-emergent applications of the company's popular Roundup herbicide, because they answer farmers' needs and have earned their popularity, the Post reported.

But DuPont, a Monsanto rival, has pressed an antitrust case, reportedly saying in court papers, "Monsanto has abused its unlawfully acquired monopoly power to block competition, thwart innovation and extract from farmers unjustified price increases of over 100 percent in recent years."


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