A blockbuster deal between Bayer and Monsanto appears to be moving ahead. On Monday, the US Department of Justice approved the German pharmaceutical and chemical group's bid to buy the US seed giant for more than $60 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. Bayer agreed to sell off additional assets to alleviate anti-trust concerns. The two companies first announced the potential deal in September 2016, saying the move would boost agriculture research and innovation. "By the time 2050 rolls around, the world will have 10 billion people, and the demand for food will double," Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer, told Business Insider last year. "The whole point here is that the business combination between Monsanto and Bayer will allow the companies to invest in and create more innovation, and it's going to take a huge amount of innovation in order to double the world's food supply." Farmers aren’t so sure. “From my perspective, they're saying the exact opposite of what most people in the industry actually believe," Clay Govier, a farmer in central Nebraska, told Business Insider in January 2017. Govier is the fifth generation to work on his family farm of 3,000 acres, which primarily grows corn and soybeans. The farm has used Monsanto products for at least 12 years, and Govier's family expects seed and chemical prices to increase due to the merger. That could put many small family farms in tough positions. "I just sat down to chat with my banker the other day, and fortunately we're in a position that I don't think we're going to have to have a hard conversation when it comes to loans for next year," Govier said. "But he said there are a lot of guys out there that are going to have a really hard conversation." Consolidation on the rise According to the US Department of Agriculture, farm production in the US has consistently shifted away from smaller farms, to larger ones. Whereas just 15% of all cropland was held by farms with at least 2,000 acres in 1987, that percentage had jumped to 36% by 2012. With the increasing consolidation of the agriculture supply industry (Monsanto-Bayer is the biggest of three major mergers — preceded by Dow-DuPont and Syngenta-ChemChina), Govier doesn't expect things to get easier anytime soon. "They're locking in their profit and they're cornering the market by getting bigger, not by creating new products," he said of Bayer and Monsanto. "They're just choking out the rest of the competition." © Provided by Business Insider Hugh Grant MonsantoThe size of the Bayer-Monsanto deal — it was the biggest merger announced in 2016 after AT&T and Time Warner — means the companies have to seek approval from regulators in 30 countries. Last month, the deal won antitrust approval in the European Union. US approval was expected as well, given that the CEOs of Bayer and Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, visited President Donald Trump before he took office and said in a statement that the three had a "very productive meeting" at Trump Tower. Baumann and Grant suggested that Trump shared their view of the agriculture industry's need for innovation. To that end, the companies highlighted their plan to spend $16 billion on research and development worldwide over six years — an average of $2.67 billion a year. But a look at their past R&D budgets reveals that, added up, the two companies already spent approximately $2.59 billion a year as of early 2017, so the combined increase in funds amounts to less than $500 million over six years. "Let's just cut to the chase: These companies want to make more money, they want to raise prices," Mark Connelly, an agriculture analyst at the brokerage and investment group CLSA Americas, previously told Business Insider. "No company in this industry needs these deals in order to innovate."