As talks of mergers and acquisitions continue, so do concerns about how these consolidations will affect innovation and marketplace choice – especially when it comes to seed.

“I think [farmers] are justified in some of their concern,” American Farm Bureau Federation’s chief economist, Bob Young, told Farm Journal Media last fall.

Contraction within the seed industry has in fact been the trend over the past 15 years. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) recently looked at that share of sales held by the four largest seed sellers for three major crops. Between 2000 and 2015, the top four seed sellers grabbed a bigger market share for corn and soybeans, while losing a slight grip on the cotton market.

Seed consolidation trends

Market share for the top four corn seed sellers moved from 60% in 2000 to 85% in 2015. Soybeans moved from 51% to 76% during the same time period. Meantime, cotton’s four top seed sellers trended slightly downward, from 95% in 2000 to 91% in 2015.

For similar agricultural economic insights, visit the ERS Chart Gallery.