Group of Iowa Farmers Sue Syngenta for GMO Corn Losses
A group of Iowa farmers and companies have filed a lawsuit against Syngenta for their Viptera strain of GMO corn, which cost many farmers and grain shipping companies in the US millions of dollars in revenue when the gene was not immediately approved for consumption in China.
Although Chinese officials recently approved consumption of the Viptera strain of corn, the country originally turned shipments away beginning in October 2013. China is one of the largest markets for US-grown corn, so the refusal of Syngenta’s GMO corn strain, after the company promised that the strain would be approved, cost individual farmers and large businesses millions of dollars in revenue.
On Monday, December 30th, 16 Iowa-based farmers and growers filed a lawsuit against Switzerland-based Syngenta, which has some operations in Iowa.
“Syngenta has caused damages to U.S. farmers, grain handlers and exporters,” the latest lawsuits allege. “Syngenta’s conduct in marketing, distributing and selling unapproved corn seed violates the legal standards of the marketplace because the primary market risk falls on U.S. farmers, grain handlers and exporters, not on Syngenta.”
Syngenta faces over 100 lawsuits in the US that claim the company negligently caused severe financial losses to farmers in the country. One group of farmers and grain exporters, including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland, have asked the Judicial Panel of Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate their lawsuits.
Chad Hart, an associate professor of economics at Iowa State University, said that the problem with current regulations, both in the US and worldwide, means that GMO corn developers are not required to inform farmers when the gene has been approved for consumption in other markets, which can lead to farmers “prematurely” planting and growing new varieties and potentially losing money.
“That to me is the crux of the lawsuit here,” Hart said. “Some people may be looking for money. Others I think are looking for some clarity when they purchase seed. Either tell me the limitations on it upfront or make sure I don’t have limitations on it when I go forward. This is a problem we could face over and over again so let’s get some legal precedent and guidelines here to help us.”
Corn farmers in South Carolina and beyond grow and harvest corn to be sold in a commodity-based system. In other words, the corn grown by an individual farmer will be gathered, commingled, and consolidated with that produced with thousands of different farms and passed through local, regional, and terminal distribution centers. US Corn sitting in a terminal distribution center is then shipped to foreign markets through exporters. To maintain the integrity of the corn, it is essential that exported shipments are free of contamination so that they are not rejected by trade partners outside of the United States.
The Strom Law Firm Pursues Claims on Behalf Of South Carolina’s Corn Farmers Against Syngenta
If you or someone you love grew, harvested, and sold non- MIR 162 corn on a commercial basis, or if you received revenue from non-MIR 162 corn under a crop-share arrangement from November 2013 to now, you may be eligible to participate in a class action seeking to recover compensation for lost profits from Syngenta. The Syngenta Corn Lawsuit attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC offer a free consultation and flexible appointment times. Do not wait until it’s too late. Contact us today. 803.252.4800