U.S. farmer lawsuits over Syngenta GMO corn granted class status
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A St. Louis lawyer has secured the right to proceed with a national class-action lawsuit that could pit more than 440,000 U.S. corn farmers against Switzerland-based seed giant Syngenta.... The legal dispute against Syngenta first emerged in 2014 and is centered on allegations that the company prematurely and irresponsibly released new seed varieties that were not approved in China. Eventually those varieties, Agrisure Viptera and Duracade, contaminated U.S. corn exports to China, leading to a trade ban in late 2013. Plaintiffs say the trade ban and Chinas continued unwillingness to buy genetically modified corn from the U.S. has resulted in estimated losses of $5 billion to $7 billion for domestic corn growers.
Once youve lost a foreign market, its very difficult to get it back because they tend to look to other countries to fill their needs, Downing said. He explained that China has turned to Ukraine as its primary supplier of corn imports. He says China now also uses imports of milo, a sorghum product, as a feed grain substitute to replace American corn.... When we lost the Chinese market, it affected the Chicago Board of Trade price for corn, Downing said. All farmers across the country were affected on a per-bushel basis, equally.
The Courts ruling will make it easier and less expensive for farmers to pursue their claims against Syngenta, said Scott Powell, another of the plaintiffs lawyers, in a released statement. Instead of having to retain and pay individual counsel, file their own lawsuit, produce voluminous farm records, sit for a deposition and appear at trial, the Court found that all class members may attempt to prove their claims through a limited number of class representatives. If those class representatives win, all class members win. No individual farmer has to file a lawsuit to seek a recovery.
Downing ... was the co-lead counsel in a $750 million settlement reached between Bayer and U.S. rice farmers in 2011. In that case, U.S. long-grain rice exports were embargoed after an unapproved, test variety of seed called LibertyLink 601 contaminated the domestic rice supply.... He says many in the grain industry warned Syngenta that Chinas failure to approve the seed varieties in question presented an unnecessary risk to an important foreign trade partner.
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/u-s-farmer-lawsuits-over-syngenta-gmo-corn-granted-class/article_0a0307d3-6a21-5db8-bbb8-57038ca809a7.html
I hope this leads both to economic justice for farmers financially ruined by predatory agribusiness and to greater understanding that the straw-man debate about whether GMOs are safe to eat is a false flag intended to mask the problem of GMOs as a monopolistic business model which is destroying independent farms.
That sounds more than just a bit nutty.
Sorry to inform you, but you're about 50 years late to the party. GMO's are not the reason for the monopolistic business models currently used by Syngenta, Monsanto, ADM, etc.
You could magically eliminate every GMO seed tomorrow, and ban their sale for eternity, and it would do jack shit to help independent farmers. This is because Agri-Biz already conquered the market with patented hybrid, non-GM seed 50 years ago. The same type of seed my grandfather was growing in the 1970's, and my dad in the 1980's and 1990's.
Without modern GM seed, farmers don't default to open-pollinated, heirloom seed you can save from year to year. They default to the patented, high-yielding non-GM hybrids because they blow the other varieties out of the water for yield and disease resistance. The fact you can't save seed is not, in fact, a problem most independent farmers really care all that much about. The cost of seed is a small percentage of your inputs on a farm in the grand scheme of things.