A Missouri couple that claims they sustained heavy damage to their corn and soybean crops last year from the drift-prone herbicide dicamba has filed a class action suit against the manufacturer, Monsanto.
Steven and Dee Landers, who own a farm in southeastern Missouri, allege that their soybean and corn crops were damaged in the summer of 2016 by the illegal use of dicamba, saying that the herbicide’s propensity to drift into neighboring fields was a predictable consequence of the company’s introduction of dicamba-tolerant seeds prior to the herbicide being approved for use.
According to the complaint, Monsanto first released dicamba-resistant seeds in 2015. Since then, there have been over 200 drift complaints in Missouri alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not approve dicamba until November of 2016. The suit seeks to represent farmers in 10 states, from Texas to Minnesota, where there have been documented complaints of dicamba drift causing crop damage.
The plaintiffs allege that the form of dicamba that Monsanto developed for use with its dicamba-resistant seeds was not made available for two growing seasons, making it inevitable that farmers would use unauthorized forms of dicamba on their crops and jeopardize the crops on nearby farms where nonresistant seed was used.
Monsanto says it is not liable for the wrongdoing of farmers who used the unauthorized forms of dicamba that spread to other farmers’ fields.
The company is facing similar litigation from a farmer who owns Missouri’s largest peach orchard. That plaintiff alleges that dicamba was responsible for low harvests and damage to his peach trees from drift.
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