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Over 10,000 claims have been made at this point, between the town hall meetings, the circulating depositions, and the farmers who are joining together to fight back against big-ag business. Until recently, it was undecided how these cases would be tried individually, or whether they would be consolidated in an effort to save costs and help Syngenta settle the cases more easily.
A judge in Kansas, Judge John Lungstrum, overturned the efforts of those wanting to consolidate, denying that right to Syngenta, and ordering that the lawsuits which were filed against Syngenta in Federal court will remain there, and the ones filed in the state courts will remain there as well.
The Most Recent Suits
Yet another class action suit has been filed in Texas, claiming that the Syngenta created GMO Viptera seed was released into the market before it had the proper approval from major purchasing markets. Since China routinely purchases such large amounts of our corn crops, the lack of approval from them significantly impacted the ability of farmers to sell their crops, resulted in a large oversupply of U.S. corn, and caused the bushel price to drop dramatically.
There are lawsuits accumulating in 20 states now, with thousands of American farmers having filed suits. American farmers have taken issue with Syngenta and their badly marketed Viptera corn seed.
Recently, Wagner Reese has been hosting town hall meetings across the state of Indiana, and we are so pleased at the turnout and response we have received with these meetings. We are joining together with attorneys and farmers in Kansas, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, and many more states to fight back against the damage Syngenta has caused to our economy, and our individual wallets since their corn product caused the bushel price of corn to drop from around $7.00 to $3.50.
The first trials in this case will likely begin in the later part of 2016 or early part of 2017, but farmers are joining together now to begin the process of reclaiming their financial losses and ensuring that this does not happen again in the future.
American farmers have always endured a number of hardships: economic challenge, insects and pests, harsh weather...and now, China.
At least that’s what the agri-corp Syngenta wants you to think. In efforts to throw the blame from themselves, Syngenta is pointing fingers away from themselves, explaining that they told American farmers their Viptera corn seed was not yet approved by China, but that even if approval did not occur, it would have minimal impacts on the wallets of each farmer.
The reality of the situation with Syngenta is that approval was not imminent, and when it took 3 more years for the Viptera corn seed to be approved by China, the farmers who had planted the seed were unable to sell their crops. A then extreme oversupply of American corn caused the bushel price to drop from around $7.00 to $3.50 per bushel.
Not only did China stop accepting imports of our corn, but they also began rejecting dried distillers grain, which is a byproduct of ethanol production, which was impacted by the Viptera strain.
China’s rejection of this seed is raising questions across the country about the future of GMO products, their safety, and the stability of the market if we continue to produce products that have to go through individual approval before farmers are able to sell their crops.
What will happen to the future of our global farming trade process if our largest customers no longer want our products? Is this a sign we should stop tampering with the DNA of our food in an effort to increase yield and make a bigger buck?
Reports and questions of possible antitrust are circulating as Monsanto continues to pursue Syngenta with talks of a merger.
Syngenta originally rejected Monsanto’s offer of $45 billion plus stock options, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping Monsanto from upping the ante. Syngenta is reportedly leery of regulatory issues with the merger, as it will put Monsanto as the world’s leading manufacturer of seeds, genetically modified organisms, and chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Monsanto is allegedly pursuing Syngenta because of their current issues with lawsuits surrounding their badly marketed Viptera Corn Seed product, and the massive losses they caused to American farmers. Because of their currently low standing in the eye of international markets, and possibly lower stock prices, Monsanto is looking for a deal.
We will keep you updated as we hear more about the potential merger, and how it will impact the global seed markets as well as American farmers.