For Caleb Hamer, recent agriculture mega-mergers have changed how and with whom he does business.
“Locally, we’ve lost some industry people on the ground level, that were excellent at their jobs, through corporate cuts or employees deciding they were tired of all the change,” says the custom applicator and corn and soybean farmer from Hudson, Iowa.
Companies say the recent round of consolidation has increased efficiencies, improved research and development and provided more resources.
A NATURAL CYCLE
“The industry isn’t even 100 years old — it’s doing what industries do by consolidating,” says John Kermicle, general manager, AgriGold. ”I do still think farmers have a lot of choices because there are four strong breeding programs. If it narrows again, that might not be good.”
By the numbers, 4,000 jobs were cut after Dow and DuPont merged to form Corteva Agriscience for a total of 21,000 employees today. Bayer also had a number of cuts.
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“We’ve been very conscious of making sure we didn’t disrupt relationships with growers — we appreciate what they’re saying,” says Tim Glenn, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Corteva Agriscience. “It’s likely we would have had more changes on the crop protection or multichannel side.”
Bayer says many of the combined leadership teams have been in place for months.
Syngenta, on the other hand, didn‘t cut jobs because it was acquired by state-owned ChemChina. ”[For example] in NK we tripled our sales force to better partner with retailers,” says David Hollinrake, president, Syngenta Seeds LLC.
BASF increased employees by 4,500 when it acquired Bayer assets, but now expects a reduction of around 6,000 positions worldwide until the end of 2021.
”We want our customers to experience this ’new‘ BASF. We will therefore continue to develop our organization to work more effectively and efficiently,” according to BASF.
For Hammer, he says he’ll grit his teeth and bear it — and hope for no more consolidation for a while.