Under the terms of an agreement announced Wednesday, seed and agribusiness giant Bayer will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve lawsuits that accuse its Roundup herbicide of causing cancer, and an additional $400 million to settle litigation claiming crop damage caused by its dicamba weedkiller from 2015 to 2020.
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an emergency motion for an immediate cutoff of farmer use of the weedkiller dicamba, a victory for the EPA plan to allow spraying of the herbicide on GE soybeans and cotton through July 31. The court voided EPA approval of versions of dicamba sold by Bayer, BASF and Corteva on June 3; a few days later, the EPA said farmers could use stocks already on the farm through the end of July.
The victors in a lawsuit against the weedkiller dicamba asked the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn an EPA decision that would let farmers use the herbicide until July 31. "Emergency relief is required to prevent off-field drift harms that will occur on millions of acres should spraying continue," said the coalition of farm and environmental groups in an emergency petition.
A federal jury determined that German agribusiness giants Bayer and BASF will have to pay $250 million in punitive damages to Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in Missouri, for damage caused by their dicamba-related products. The verdict comes at the end of a three-week trial of a case where Bader Farms alleges it is going out of business because of damage incurred by the companies' dicamba herbicides moving off of neighboring fields and harming their 1,000 acres of peach orchards.
In the early 2000s, Bader Farms was the largest peach farm in Missouri, with annual yields averaging about 160,000 bushels. Fifteen years later, yields had dropped by more than 90 percent. Bill Bader blames dicamba, and now he’s suing its makers for millions of dollars in damages.(No paywall)
Knowing federal regulators were paying attention to the new weedkiller's potential to contaminate other fields, Monsanto decided to “pull back” on testing to allow dicamba, according to testimony in the federal trial over the weedkiller. Bader Farms, the largest peach farm in the state, alleges that dicamba damaged their orchard.
A class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in St. Louis says Monsanto and BASF genetically engineered dicamba-resistant crops knowing the weedkiller was likely to harm neighboring crops, and that "everything they did and failed to do increased the risk," reports Harvest Public Media.
The Department of Justice on Tuesday approved Bayer’s $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto, completing a two-year approval process for the mega-merger that spanned several countries. The combined company will be the largest agrochemical and seed company in the world with about $48 billion in annual sales.
German ag and healthcare giant Bayer said it is “in exclusive talks with BASF on the sale of its entire vegetable seeds business” as a way of gaining European approval for its takeover of Monsanto.
After consulting growers, researchers and chemical companies, the Missouri Agriculture Department said it will ban use of BASF's dicamba weedkiller on cotton and soybeans after June 1 in 10 southeastern counties and in the rest of the state after July 15 in order to prevent damage to neighboring crops. The state agency said it expects to issue similar limits for Monsanto and DuPont versions of the herbicide.