Monsanto settles more U.S. farmer claims over GM wheat

The 2013 discovery of experimental Roundup Ready wheat plants in a farmer’s field in Oregon has led the crop’s developer to settle suits brought by wheat growers in seven U.S. states.

Monsanto Co. said Wednesday it had reached a settlement agreement with growers in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, stemming from Japan’s and Korea’s temporary restrictions on certain exports of U.S. soft white wheat in the wake of the Oregon finding.

The terms of the settlements, Monsanto said, call for the company to make donations of US$50,000 to the agricultural school at the land grant university in each state, “to further the interests of wheat farmers and the wheat industry.”

“We believe this is a unique and fair mechanism for resolving the claims of (U.S.) Midwest and Southeast wheat farmers,” the plaintiffs’ representative lawyer, Patrick Pendley of Plaquemine, La., said in Monsanto’s release.

The settlement is made “without any admission of liability” on Monsanto’s part, the company said.

“Rather than paying the costs of protracted litigation, this agreement puts that money to work in research and development efforts for the wheat industry,” Kyle McClain, Monsanto’s chief litigation counsel, said in the same release.

St. Louis-based Monsanto said it will also reimburse plaintiffs and their counsel for some of their out-of-pocket costs and fees associated with the suits.

The seven class action suits brought by farmers in those states will be “dismissed, with prejudice,” as part of the agreement, Monsanto said.

Claims by wheat growers in Arkansas, who also filed suit, remain pending, the company said.

Monsanto last November paid out over US$2.5 million to settle other related claims, including those brought by farmers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. — Network


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