DowDuPont captures synergies with merger
Oct. 23, 2017
Whitesel, head of government affairs at DuPont, grew up on a dairy farm in rural Indiana. He now works in Washington, D.C., but came back to his home state for the Food and Agribusiness Conference.
He discussed the DuPont merger and gave an industry perspective of the administration’s role in agriculture.
How is the Dow/DuPont merger going?
We finally crossed the finish line with the merger. Dow and DuPont will be together for probably 18 months, or less, before we’ll split into three stand-alone companies: agriculture, materials science and specialty products.
The agriculture side will be a combination of DuPont’s crop protection division, Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer.
What’s next with the merger?
Now we’re trying to formulate our teams. The CEOs and upper levels have been announced, and they are working their way down.
We’re very excited. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s been very stressful. There’s still going to be changes happening as we look for synergies.
What are your thoughts on the current administration?
Regardless of how you feel about President Trump, I think everyone would agree that he was elected because he was not “of” Washington D.C. The administration has taken awhile to find their own way forward. There are still positions that aren’t filled, but at least they can start making decisions.
How are things progressing on the Hill?
It’s coming together. It’s easier now that we, as an industry, have somebody to talk to. We know the regulatory folks. Knowing there’s somebody there that knows that industry, knows agriculture — having a steady hand — is good. We’re progressing.
What role does the Environmental Protection Agency play in your industry?
For all of the deserved and undeserved criticism EPA receives, they have a valuable role. We want sound, predictable regulation. We think it’s important for public and trade confidence.
How do you see the next farm bill coming together?
I’m not going to say it’ll be easy. It never is. Hearings have started, and people are casting their lines. I get the sense that if dairy and cotton problems can be solved, that most of the other commodities are relatively OK. Not economically, but as far as the farm bill goes, it may just be a few tweaks.
How do you feel about trade?
We agree that trade is important, generally. We certainly intend to capture more market share in the U.S. But growth is most likely going to come from outside of the U.S. Trade, on the behalf of U.S. farmers, is very important to us.
What problems are there with international trade?
What we want out of China and Europe is not only a functioning system, but a predictable system. They are really neither.
As companies we expect to do the appropriate tests, submit dossiers and then the functioning system takes care of that. Increasingly, we’ve had to rely on politics in addition to submissions.
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