Six companies dominate the business of farm supplies. The interest of Monsanto, the world's biggest seed producer, in buying Syngenta, the largest agrochemicals firm, had threatened to whittle them down to five. That raised worries about whether the reduction in competition would mean less innovation - and thus slower improvements in crop yields - as well as higher costs for farmers.
Organic foods have long carried a price premium along with a certain snob appeal or caricature, depending on your view: Fancy eats for affluent folks, not the hungry and thrifty masses. So much for that stereotype. Organic products sold under Kroger’s store brand are about to top $1bn in annual sales.
As U.S. cornfields withered under drought conditions last summer, Brazil's once-empty Cerrado region produced a bumper crop of the grain, helping feed livestock on U.S. farms and ease a drought-related spike in prices.