Local corn farmers are invited to a town hall meeting Friday about a nationwide lawsuit that could positively affect them.
Midwest Corn Lawsuit is hosting informational meetings in Windsor and Warrensburg to speak with farmers about litigation against Syngenta Ag. According to a MCL news release, in 2009 Syngenta released a new genetically-modified strain of corn seed into the United States market. Jessica Dodd, an attorney with Midwest Corn Lawsuit, said the seed has pesticides in the corn instead of spraying the crop with pesticide.
“Different countries don’t approve of GMOs, there’s still a stigma attached; China had not yet approved this new corn seed,” Dodd continued. “The farmers planted this corn seed and the way corn is transported, all corn is co-mingled with other corn, in the same truck, the same cargo ship as non-GMO corn. These exports get to China, they start testing them and find GMOs they said they would not take and reject the entire shipment. It dives the bushel of corn price down really quickly and really dramatically, from $7-something a bushel to $3 to $4 a bushel.”
“Without import approval for this strain, known as Agrisure Viptera, China rejected U.S. corn shipments in 2013 and 2014, causing global collapse in U.S. corn prices,” the release states. “The export market disruptions with China cost U.S. farmers billions of dollars.”
MCL is helping with the litigation against Syngenta, noting that all U.S. corn growers, regardless of whether or not they planted Syngenta seed, were most likely impacted by this market disruption.
“This has affected every corn farmer across the U.S., so all of them are potentially eligible,” Dodd said. “They didn’t have to plant this seed or Syngenta seed. Even corn grain elevator operators or landlords who rent out their farms are likely eligible.”
According to the release, so far more than 45,000 corn farmers across the United States have already filed suit, as have large agricultural companies including Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. Those who join the lawsuit have the possibility of recovering damages sustained due to the market disruption.
“We’re trying to give them a recovery on a price-per-bushel amount that was lost as a way of compensating them for the damages of the reduced price of corn caused by Syngenta,” Dodd said.
The first town hall meeting in the area today will take place at noon at Fitter’s Pub, 131 W. Pine St. in Warrensburg. The second will be at 5:30 p.m. at Raymond’s Family Restaurant, 301 S. Main St. in Windsor.
“Farmers should come with a general idea of how many bushels they grew in 2013, 2014 and 2015,” Dodd said. “Bring themselves and their questions. One of the great things is town hall meetings are generally very small so it allows them to get individualized advice from an attorney and it’s free.”
For more information, visit midwestcornlawsuit.com.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.