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Harvest Public Media is a reporting collaboration focused on issues of food, fuel and field. Based at KCUR in Kansas City, Harvest covers these agriculture-related topics through an expanding network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest.Most Harvest Public Media stories begin with radio- regular reports are aired on member stations in the Midwest. But Harvest also explores issues through online analyses, television documentaries and features, podcasts, photography, video, blogs and social networking. They are committed to the highest journalistic standards. Click here to read their ethics standards.Harvest Public Media was launched in 2010 with the support of a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Today, the collaboration is supported by CPB, the partner stations, and contributions from underwriters and individuals.Tri States Public Radio is an associate partner of Harvest Public Media. You can play an important role in helping Harvest Public Media and Tri States Public Radio improve our coverage of food, field and fuel issues by joining the Harvest Network.

Senate Plans Hearing on Big Ag Mergers

File: Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media
U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) plans to hold hearings on the pending mergers of several large agricultural seed and chemical companies.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee plans to examine proposed mergers among agricultural chemical and seed companies in a September hearing.

With Chinese chemical giant ChemChina in talks to buy Syngenta, merger discussions ongoing between Dow and DuPont, and Bayer and Monsanto apparently inching toward a deal, regulators and lawmakers are worrying about decreased competition and higher prices for farmers.

Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow are among the biggestglobal players in agricultural seeds and chemicals.

“The hearing will focus on the transactions currently being reviewed by antitrust regulators and the current trend in consolidation of the seed and chemical industries,” says Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. He’s planning to invite people from the involved companies and others who would be impacted to testify, but says details have not yet been finalized.

Grassley says the Senate hearing will add oversight to reviews the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are already conducting. Grassley previously urged those two agencies to collaborate and to involve the Agriculture Department as appropriate.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. cleared ChemChina’s bidfor Syngenta of national security concerns earlier this week.

During the August Congressional recess, Grassley has traveled throughout Iowa and says some constituents raised the issue of mergers and consolidation.

“Not a massive voice against it, just concern about it, as opposed to people having their mind made up,” he says. “But there is a great deal of concern.”

Amy Mayer is a reporter based in Ames. She covers agriculture and is part of the Harvest Public Media collaboration. Amy worked as an independent producer for many years and also previously had stints as weekend news host and reporter at WFCR in Amherst, Massachusetts and as a reporter and host/producer of a weekly call-in health show at KUAC in Fairbanks, Alaska. Amy’s work has earned awards from SPJ, the Alaska Press Club and the Massachusetts/Rhode Island AP. Her stories have aired on NPR news programs such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition and on Only A Game, Marketplace and Living on Earth. She produced the 2011 documentary Peace Corps Voices, which aired in over 160 communities across the country and has written for The New York Times, Boston Globe, Real Simple and other print outlets. Amy served on the board of directors of the Association of Independents in Radio from 2008-2015.