Accounting for Agribusiness

Michigan Corn Farmers: The Window to File an Individual Claim Against Syngenta Ends October 15, 2017

CPAs & Advisors

Steven Treece
Steven Treece CPA Senior Manager CPAs & Advisors

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Any Michigan farmers who grew corn, or had corn grown on their land between the years 2013 and 2016, may be affected by an important legal issue with a substantial financial impact.

In 2013, Syngenta, a Swiss agricultural business, advertised and sold a genetically modified corn seed, Agrisure Duracade, in the United States. At that time the seed had not been approved for use by China, one of the largest exporters of corn in the world.Shortly after that, China rejected all U.S. corn for a period of time due to the possibility of contamination with the unapproved seeds.In response to the change in market demand, corn prices dropped significantly in 2013 and 2014 and still have not fully recovered to this day, causing severe economic damage.

Since this occurrence negatively impacted the entire corn market as a whole, all corn growers who sold corn from 2013 to the present day are potentially entitled to be compensated for damages as part of a class action lawsuit, not just corn growers who used Agrisure Duracade.The potential recovery for damages ranges from 6.5 to 70 cents per bushel of corn produced from 2013 to present day.

This summer, a jury awarded nearly $218 million to Kansas corn producers in the first of eight Syngenta GMO corn class action lawsuits. The other certified state class action lawsuits involve Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota corn producers. Numerous other state class action lawsuits in this matter are awaiting certification, including Michigan’s.
Michigan is one of the few states where the window to file an individual claim is still open – the cutoff date is October 15, 2017 .Once a class action is certified in Michigan, the time to make an individual claim ends.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by the significant drop in corn prices in recent years and would like to consider filing an individual lawsuit against Syngenta, please contact your local Yeo & Yeo office (link to office locations) and ask to speak with a member of Yeo & Yeo’s Agribusiness Services Group. We can help assess your situation and provide guidance on next steps.

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