The $1.51 billion settlement reached with Syngenta over class action and individual lawsuits related to the sale and marketing of its Agrisure Viptera and Duracade corn seeds and the alleged harm that Syngenta’s conduct caused corn producers, grain handling facilities, and ethanol plants is facing a claim submission deadline of Oct. 12, 2018.
The settlement stems from litigation challenging Syngenta’s sale in the U.S. of insect-resistant GMO corn seed varieties before obtaining import approval from China.
Under the settlement agreement, according to a news release from the lead attorneys, Syngenta will pay $1.51 billion into a settlement fund to be allocated among producers and other eligible parties (grain handling facilities and ethanol plants) and to cover the costs of administering the settlement.
Syngenta denies it did anything wrong. Although certain corn producers’ cases went to trial, the courts have not made a final decision as to who is right.
The amount eligible class members will receive depends on the amount of the class member’s interest in U.S. corn priced for sale between Sept. 15, 2013, and April 10, 2018. All corn producers with an interest in U.S. corn priced for sale between Sept. 15, 2013, and April 10, 2018, are eligible for a portion of the settlement proceeds.
For purposes of the settlement, “corn producers” includes crop-share or other landlords whose rent is based on the market price of corn.
Producers who do not file a claim by Oct. 12 will not receive any money from the settlement. Regardless of whether they submit a claim for payment, all covered corn producers except those who have specifically “opted out” of this settlement will be deemed to give up any right to pursue a claim against Syngenta involving the same legal issues involved in these lawsuits.
The settlement may affect your rights if you are:
(1) A corn producer (that is, an owner, operator, landlord, water-lord, tenant, or sharecropper) who shares in the risk of producing corn and is entitled to share in certain corn crops in the U.S. who priced corn for sale between Sept. 15, 2013, and April 10, 2018.
A landlord who receives a variable rent payable based on a share of the crop or proceeds from the sale of corn is a corn producer. A landlord who receives only a fixed cash amount for renting the land that does not vary with the size of, or pricing for, the crop is not a corn producer; or
(2) A grain handling facility (that is, a grain elevator, grain distributor, grain transporter, or other similar entity) in the U.S. with an interest in U.S. corn priced for sale between Sept. 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018; or
(3) An ethanol production facility (that is, an ethanol plant, bio-refinery, or other similar entity) in the U.S. with an interest in U.S. corn, including DDGs, priced for sale between Sept. 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018.
Most producers filing a claim will not need to submit any documents, but will need: (1) the social security or tax ID numbers for each farming entity; (2) the estimated percentage of corn fed on farm in 2013-18 (if any); and (3) whether the producer purchased and planted Agrisure Viptera or Duracade corn seed. Producers are eligible for compensation regardless of whether they purchased these products, but the amount of compensation may be lower for those who did.
The amount of compensation generally will be based on corn acreage in 2013-2018 (as reported on FSA Form 578 or through crop insurance programs) and average county yields published by USDA for each year. Producer information is required to be kept confidential and destroyed by the claims administrator after claims are paid.
Separate claim forms are required for each person or entity which farms corn. Producers who fail to submit a claim form for every social security number (spouse, relative, partner, etc.) or tax id (each corporate entity) for which corn acreage was reported on a Form 578 will not receive their full potential share of the settlement.
For most producers, the simplest way to submit a claim is through the settlement website.
Producers can also access and print a paper copy of the claim form or call 1-833-567-CORN to have a copy mailed. For additional information or updates, check the settlement website—particularly the FAQ document—or call 1-833-567-CORN (2676).
This is only a summary. For detailed information, visit the website or call the number below.
www.CornSeedSettlement.com; or 1-833-567-CORN (1-833-567-2676).