A large portion of U.S. farmers’ income is dependent on international exports of their crops. For instance, 40 percent of the corn grown by U.S. farmers is exported. So when a company introduced genetically modified (GMO) seed into the U.S. corn market, causing China to reject corn from the United States, U.S. farmers lost billions of dollars because they lost one of their biggest customers.

Farmers and agro-processors across the nation are filing lawsuits against Switzerland-based Syngenta, accusing the company of not having good agricultural practices when it commercialized its Agrisure Viptera GMO corn seed. Although the corn only represented 3 percent of the country’s corn crop, there is no way to keep that one variety isolated from the rest of the crop. Other businesses’ crops have been contaminated by the Syngenta GMO seed.

China rejected all corn shipments from the United States starting in November 2013 and throughout 2014, causing the price of corn to drop dramatically, even for farmers who have never used the controversial seeds. A Wall Street Journal report indicated shipments of corn to China went down 85 percent in the first seven months of 2014, and prices plummeted 60 percent since a 2012 peak.

The lawsuits argue Syngenta was reckless in using the GMO seed before securing approval to sell corn from that seed in foreign markets. Syngenta says it sought Chinese approval for the GMO seed in 2010, but corn grown with the seed was not approved for sale in China when the seed was released.

Farmers and agro-processors who lost money due to Syngenta’s actions should contact an experienced attorney right away who can guide them through the legal process in an attempt to recover financial compensation for the weakening of the market caused by the GMO corn.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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