Bayer pays $1.5 million damages to farmers

Missouri court asks Bayer to pay $1.5 million damages to farmers

February 08 2010

A federal court jury of St Louis has asked German multinational Bayer CropScience AG to pay about $1.5 million to the farmers in Arkansas and Mississippi for losses sustained when the company conducted an experimental variety of rice in the region.

The company’s experiments infiltrated the farmers’ crops, jury said on Friday.

The verdict was the second against Bayer CropScience. In December2009, a jury had awarded about $ 1.95 million in compensatory damages to Ken Bell of Bell City, and $53,336 to a rice farmer John Hunter of Essex.

The lawsuit is similar to hundreds of cases filed by farmers in Arkansas and few other states claiming that since 2006 their crops were contaminated by a genetically modified strain of rice produced by Bayer Cropscience.

In August 2006, the US Department of Agriculture had admitted that trace amounts of the genetically modified Liberty Link rice were found in US long-grain rice stocks, according to Don Downing, lead attorney for the farmers.

Bayer and Louisiana State University had been testing genetically modified rice, bred to resist a Bayer brand of herbicide, at a school-run facility in Crowley, Louisiana.

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April Reeves: This sets a precedent for future suits, with the exception of the fact that the rice was still in testing stages and without patents. Farmers should have received more compensation: the GE strain will transfer to existing plants.

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