About two years ago, Bayer and Monsanto reached an agreement under which Bayer would acquire Monsanto. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet farmers from around the world, including the United States, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Germany, the Netherlands, China and India to name only a few.
In many ways, these farmers and their stories couldn’t be more different. Some grow corn and soy. Some grow wheat. Others grow rice. And still many others grow any other number of crops: from chilies to fruit to vegetables. Some of the farmers I met tend to farms larger than 20,000 acres (more than 10,000 soccer fields) while others have farms of only two acres (about the size of one soccer field).
But, no matter the size of their operation, these farmers face a common challenge: how to grow more with less. The earth’s population is rapidly growing. Its natural resources are limited. And this calls for breakthrough innovation—not just to help farmers improve this year’s harvest, but to help ensure the health of their fields, their environment, their farm operations and the global food system for generations to come.
Today we are one step closer to our goal of delivering that innovation to farmers. After two long years working with regulators and preparing to close the transaction, today Bayer completed the acquisition of Monsanto, a major step in our journey to create a global leader in agriculture.
Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President Crop Science Division
It has been a long road for us to get to today— to be honest, even longer than we expected. And, while we’re looking forward to proceed with the integration of Bayer and Monsanto, we still aren’t quite there yet. Our two companies can only begin to integrate as soon as the divestments to BASF have been completed in approximately two months.
But over the past two years I never once doubted the rationale behind this combination and why it will deliver innovation necessary to help all kinds of farmers.
An Important Day for the Future of Agriculture
And here’s why: By bringing together Bayer’s cutting-edge chemical and biological crop protection solutions with Monsanto’s pioneering expertise in seed and traits, we believe we can offer farmers a customized toolbox of solutions offering them the best choice of technologies. With these leading R&D capabilities under one roof, we believe we can accelerate our innovation pipeline bringing farmers the innovation they are hungry for. On top of that, we will have a leading digital agriculture platform, the Climate Corporation. With the latest in analytics and digital insights, we can help farmers make smarter decisions that make the best use of their limited natural resources and, ultimately, improve both their sustainability and their profitability.
To bring this innovation to life, we have a passionate global team: a diverse workforce including agronomists, data scientists, biologists, chemists and many, many more. Yet our team also has plenty of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and of course grandparents who want to look after the health of their families and communities around the world and who really care about our customers. They walk the fields with our customers, listening so they can provide the best solutions customized to those farmers’ needs. And not only do farmers care what is put into the ground, they care about how it is grown —because their families and friends depend on healthy crops just as much as you and I do.
And while innovation and progress are crucial moving forward, they will be meaningless without public acceptance. We recognize our heightened responsibility and we’re fully committed to further strengthening transparency. We plan to multiply our efforts to foster open dialogue with the general public to better connect farmers and consumers and to help explain that good food needs healthy fields and harvests – and innovation can help achieve that.
I truly believe there has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture. I look forward to the upcoming integration of our teams and am very confident that our combined talent and portfolio will deliver outstanding innovation and services to farmers of all sizes around the world. And that will allow us not only to have a healthy business, but also to help make the world a little better, one harvest at a time.
Bayer and Monsanto continue to operate as competitors until the hold separate order as imposed by the US Department of Justice has been lifted.