Farmers in Iowa and across the country are reeling from a $1.4 billion investment by a major agribushield investor, Monsanto, that could impact their futures.
The company announced its latest acquisition of Iowa farmers in a blog post Tuesday, saying the move “will help support the agricultural sector as it expands and adapts to the changing demands of today’s agricultural markets.”
Farmers are upset about the deal, saying it’s not enough.
But the move is not surprising to Iowa farmers who say they are being left out of the process by the company’s corporate backers.
“This is the kind of deal that would have been made a long time ago, but we’re still being left behind,” said Rick Tait, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, an organization that represents farmers.
“We are not getting a fair shake.”
A key piece of the deal is a partnership with Monsanto’s Iowa Farm Service Agency, or IFSA, that will allow the agribusto to buy land in Iowa for $1 million a year.
The USDA is the state agency that oversees agriculture in Iowa.
The IFSA is one of the largest agricultural companies in the United States, and the company has an interest in Iowa because it provides farmers with contracts that allow it to sell its seeds.
The agreement between the agri-business and the Iowa agency was first reported by The Des Moines Register, which said the two companies have agreed to a $6 million investment in a new research facility.
The announcement comes as the state is under a state of emergency, with the state’s agriculture secretary, Bill LaHood, saying there could be a “significant impact” on agriculture.
“The farmers of Iowa will have no say over their future and we are looking forward to working with the Iowa Agri-Business to support their future success,” LaHoud said in a statement.
The deal is part of a $100 million investment Monsanto has made to bolster Iowa’s agribuster market.
But Iowa farmers are also angry at the deal because they say they have not been adequately consulted on the deal.
“What this investment is really about is a takeover of the farm,” said Terry Sussman, president and CEO of the National Farmers Union, which represents Iowa farmers.
Sussmann said the deal could be bad for farmers and the state.
“There’s a lot of good people here who work for us.
But they haven’t been consulted,” Sussmansaid.
“When you have this deal, you have to be willing to go through a lot more of this process before you can get to the table.
You don’t have to do this all at once.
You have to go back and talk to the people who actually own the farm.”
Iowa farmers say they’re angry because they have no input into the investment.
“If I didn’t think they were going to make the investment, I wouldn’t have put my money in,” said Jeff Luskin, president/CEO of the Association of Iowa Farmers.
“They’re going to take it away from us.”
The Iowa Farm Federation has criticized the deal for being too short, but has said that it could have a significant impact on the state if it’s approved.
“It would create an industry of the future, creating new jobs and jobs for farmers in Iowa, as well as providing certainty for farmers throughout the entire agricultural landscape,” the federation said in its statement.
“But the stakes are so high.”