GMO Corn Lawsuits Continue to Rise
Syngenta, an agrochemicals manufacturer, is facing a growing number of lawsuits alleging that the company sold a genetically modified corn seed to farmers in the U.S. before China had approved the product for import. According to the claims, farmers have sustained losses that total an estimated $1 billion. More than 50 lawsuits are pending in 11 major corn-growing states, including Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, and hundreds more are in the preparation phase. While some lawsuits are class-action cases that represent hundreds of farmers, others have been filed on behalf of farmers who are being represented by individual attorneys.
A hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 4, 2014, in Charleston, S.C., by a federal court panel that manages complex lawsuits such as these. The hearing will determine where the lawsuits will be consolidated, and attorneys anticipate that the litigation will be held in Illinois or Iowa. The disputes are focused on Syngenta’s sale of Agrisure Viptera, a hybrid corn seed that had been genetically altered to contain a protein that kills cutworms, earworms, and other corn-eating bugs. It was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2010, and Syngenta began to sell the corn in Iowa and to other farmers in 2011.
Corn Sales, Profits Fall
However, it is common practice in the industry for biotech seed developers to wait until they receive approval from major trade partners before they sell it in the U.S. Although China is a growing importer of U.S. corn, it refuses to buy genetically modified crops it has not yet tested, including Viptera. The first Viptera corn trait was found in several November 2013 shipments to China, and the country began to reject the corn in February of the following year. According to the lawsuits, more than 130 million bushels have been rejected as of late October 2014.
According to research conducted by the National Grain and Feed Association, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]damages for farmers of corn in Iowa and throughout the U.S. may exceed $1 billion[/inlinetweet] for the past nine months of the marketing year that ended on Aug. 31. Exports of corn in Iowa and throughout the U.S. are down 85% compared to 2013, and this decrease has lowered corn prices. For its part, Syngenta upholds its right to sell products and asserts that farmers have the right to new technologies that can help to increase their profitability and productivity.
Are You Concerned about Your Corn in Iowa? Contact Attorney Group for Iowa Today
If you are a farmer and you believe that your profits and corn in Iowa have been adversely affected by Syngenta, contact Attorney Group for Iowa for more information. We can evaluate your case, free of charge, and help you determine whether you are eligible to hold Syngenta responsible for your losses. If we find that you have a case, we can put you in touch with one of our affiliated attorneys who can assist you throughout the legal process.