Two companies—Corteva and Bayer—provided more than half the U.S. retail seed sales of corn, soybeans, and cotton in 2018–20, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
In recent decades, the U.S. crop seed industry has become more concentrated, with fewer and larger firms dominating seed supply. Today, four firms—Bayer, Corteva, ChemChina’s Syngenta Group, and BASF—control the majority of crop seed and agricultural chemical sales. In 2015, six firms led global markets for seeds and agricultural chemicals. The concentration can be traced to the expansion of intellectual property rights to private companies for seed improvements in the 1970s and 1980s.
As biotechnology advanced, companies created genetically modified seed varieties, such as herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant corn, soybeans, and cotton. Mergers occurred between companies that produced and sold pesticides, seed treatments, crop seeds, and seed traits. As a result, the U.S. crop seed sector has become highly integrated with agricultural chemicals and more concentrated.