- Syngenta introduced a GMO corn trait, MIR 162, and marketed it as Viptera Agrisure, then later introduced a different GMO trait marketed as Duracade Agrisure.
- During crop years 2013 and 2014, only three percent (3%) of the corn seed sold in the United States was Viptera Agrisure or Duracade Agrisure.
- Since Syngenta corn caused a drop in all U.S. corn prices, all corn farmers were harmed regardless if they used Syngenta corn seed.
- Farmers who planted Viptera Agrisure and Duracade Agrisure will have additional damages in the form of clean-up costs and transportation costs, yet likely will face different arguments from Syngenta.
Syngenta Failed to Implement Proper Programs to Ensure that Unapproved Corn Strains Would Not Cross-Contaminate Approved Corn Strains
Syngenta introduced MIR 162 into the U.S. corn market in 2010, when it had not been approved by several of our major corn export partners. Before it could sell MIR 162 to U.S. farmers, Syngenta needed to obtain “nonregulated status” from the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”).
In its application for non-regulated status, Syngenta promised to implement mandatory stewardship programs to ensure that its non-approved strain would not be commingled with other strains already approved by our corn export partners. Relying on Syngenta’s promises, the USDA granted non-regulated status to Syngenta for MIR 162 corn in April of 2010, and Syngenta began to sell its MIR 162 seed in the U.S. In February of 2013, the USDA granted non-regulated status to Syngenta for Duracade Agrisure, and Syngenta began to sell it here in the U.S. during crop year 2014.
All Corn Farmers Were Harmed by Syngenta
During crop years 2013 and 2014, only three percent (3%) of the corn seed sold in the United States was Viptera Agrisure or Duracade Agrisure. Nonetheless, when China detected the presence of unapproved MIR 162 in U.S. shipments of corn, it first began to destroy such corn, and later, began turning away entire ships filled with any corn from the United States. The price of all corn in the United States plummeted as a result. Consequently, farmers who did not grow Syngenta seed were harmed from the drop in corn prices, just as those who did grow it were harmed.
Clean-up and Transportation Costs
Farmers who planted Viptera Agrisure and Duracade Agrisure will have additional damages in the form of clean-up costs and transportation costs. Specifically, farmers who grew Viptera Agrisure and Duracade Agrisure will need to pay to have its presence removed from their grain bins, their harvesting equipment and their transport vehicles. Moreover, unbeknownst to farmers, grain elevators in the U.S. began refusing to accept shipments of Viptera Agrisure and Duracade Agrisure corn. As a result, some farmers were forced to transport their corn greater distances in an attempt to find possible grain elevators that would purchase their corn. Those farmers have an additional claim for transport damages as well.
Effects of Syngenta’s Modification of Its Seed Licensing Agreements
Those farmers who actually planted Viptera Agrisure and Duracade Agrisure will likely face different arguments than those farmers who did not. Upon learning that it would be sued by Cargill and ADM, Syngenta modified its seed licensing agreements to include a provision that required farmers to both grow Duracade Agrisure away from other corns and not sell to grain elevators that accept other corns. As a result, there will likely be two categories of arguments. It is expected that Syngenta will create a set of arguments for farmers who did not follow the new requirements and a separate set of arguments for farmers who complied with the requirements.
* This information is provided to supply relevant information concerning the GMO corn lawsuit, and should not be received as legal advice. Legal advice is only given to persons or entities with whom Watts Guerra LLP has established an attorney-client relationship. If you have another lawyer in the GMO Corn lawsuit, you should consult with your own attorney, and rely upon his or her advice, rather than the information contained herein.