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Crop Input Makers, Wholesalers, and Retailers Antitrust Class Action

“Crop inputs” include both seeds and crop protection products, such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. This antitrust class action brings suit against a group of manufacturer defendants—Bayer CropScience, Inc., Corteva, Inc., Syngenta Corporation, and BASF Corporation—and two other groups of wholesaler and retailer defendants, alleging the companies “have established a secretive distribution process that keeps Crop Input[] prices inflated at supracompetitive levels and … denies farmers access to relevant market information…”

According to the complaint, “The cost of Crop Inputs is increasing at a significantly faster rate than profits of farmers’ crop yields.” This has put increasing financial pressure on farmers. The complaint alleges, “Neither the cost increases nor the price disparities are attributable to any independent legitimate cause, such as weather or other factors.”

In fact, the complaint alleges that the suppression of information is itself a large problem, preventing farmers from doing comparison shopping and even keeping them from knowing whether “they are buying newly developed seeds or identical seeds repackaged under a new brand name and sold for a higher price.”

By 2014, the complaint alleges, new crop input sales platforms such as Farmers Business Network (FNB) and AgVend, Inc. had been set up to allow farmers to see what their fellow farmers were paying for crop inputs. Since this threatened the ability of the defendants in this case to maintain control over prices, the complaint claims that they “conspired and coordinated to boycott these online Crop Inputs Sales platforms…”

“For example,” the complaint claims, “the Manufacturer Defendants and Wholesaler Defendants agreed amongst themselves not to sell Crop Inputs to FBN, and enforced strict discipline on Retailer Defendants who failed to comply with the boycott.” Others “used audits and inspections of their authorized retailers to ensure that online Crop Inputs sales platforms were unable to obtain Crop Inputs from their authorized retailers.”

Sales platforms such as FBN and AgVend were therefore unable to get the crop inputs to sell them on their plaforms.

The complaint alleges that the behavior of the various defendants has come to the attention of the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB) and the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Both are investigating.

Two classes have been defined for this action.

  • The first is all persons or entities living in the US who, between January 1, 2014 and the present, bought from a defendant in this case a crop input manufactured by a Manufacturer Defendant.
  • The second is all persons or entities living in the US who, between January 1, 2014 and the present, bought from a retailer who is not a Retailer Defendant in this case a Crop Input manufactured by a Manufacturer Defendant.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

Crop Input Makers, Wholesalers, and Retailers Antitrust Complaint

February 5, 2021

“Crop inputs” include both seeds and crop protection products, such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. This antitrust class action brings suit against a group of manufacturer defendants—Bayer CropScience, Inc., Corteva, Inc., Syngenta Corporation, and BASF Corporation—and two other groups of wholesaler and retailer defendants, alleging the companies “have established a secretive distribution process that keeps Crop Input[] prices inflated at supracompetitive levels and … denies farmers access to relevant market information…”

Crop Input Makers, Wholesalers, and Retailers Antitrust Complaint

Case Event History

Crop Input Makers, Wholesalers, and Retailers Antitrust Complaint

February 5, 2021

“Crop inputs” include both seeds and crop protection products, such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. This antitrust class action brings suit against a group of manufacturer defendants—Bayer CropScience, Inc., Corteva, Inc., Syngenta Corporation, and BASF Corporation—and two other groups of wholesaler and retailer defendants, alleging the companies “have established a secretive distribution process that keeps Crop Input[] prices inflated at supracompetitive levels and … denies farmers access to relevant market information…”

Crop Input Makers, Wholesalers, and Retailers Antitrust Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Collusion and Price Fixing