A federal jury has ordered Swiss giant Syngenta to pay $217.7 million to Kansas farmers after a verdict was announced this week at a trial in Kansas City. The class action lawsuit was brought because of the Viptera line of corn seed Syngenta began selling to farmers in 2011. At the time, Syngenta hadn’t received Chinese approval of the trait (MIR162) within the seed that gave it insect resistance. China began rejecting U.S. grain shipments in 2013 because it detected the unapproved trait in corn. China would go on to approve the trait in 2014 but farmers contended the damage had been done because of lower corn prices and lost sales. The plaintiffs contend that the China rejection led to grower losses of more than $5 billion. The trial featured four Kansas farmers representing more than 7,000 across the state. Syngenta issued a statement saying they were disappointed with the verdict “because it will only serve to deny American farmers access to future technologies, even when they’re approved in the U.S.” The release said the case is without merit and Syngenta will be moving forward with an appeal. Class action lawsuits have been approved in several other states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.