Syngenta settles GMO corn lawsuit for $1.51 billion with U.S. farmers

In what can be regarded as one of the largest agricultural litigation settlements in the history of United States, Syngenta, a leading specialty chemicals industry firm, recently announced that it has agreed to settle the U.S. farmers’ lawsuit that was filed in the Kansas federal court. Reportedly, USD 1.51 billion will be paid by Syngenta in settlement to U.S. corn farmers, ethanol plants, and grain trading facilities that sold corn priced after 15th of September 2013.

According to sources, Syngenta’s decision to rollout a genetically modified (GMO) corn seed variety in the U.S. market before China approved it for imports has allegedly dragged the Swiss seed giant to the courts. Citing the case details, sources further reveal that China, being a key importer of US corn, rejected all the shipments of the product back in 2013 as a genetic trait was detected in the same. At the time, the genetic trait was not approved in China, leading to the Kansas’ farmers suffering from long-lasting economic damage.

According to AG Pro News, all the corn growers are eligible for the settlement, inclusive of those who have opted out of the earlier Syngenta lawsuits. Sources cite that when the funds will be released, notices will most probably be mailed, and the farmers will need to submit a claim form, object to, or opt out of the agreement terms.

The settlement was first reported in September; however, the details were not made public until the company officials announced the same in a news statement.

For those who are unfamiliar, Syngenta is now owned by the Chinese specialty chemicals industry giant ChemChina and has reportedly denied any wrongdoing when asked about the lawsuit that has been filed against it. In fact, it believed that no company had ever postponed launching a US approved corn seed product in the country just because China had yet to approve its import. However, experts deem this move to have left a considerable impact on the growth prospects of ChemChina in turn impeding China specialty chemicals industry share.