Jury orders Monsanto, BASF to pay peach farmer $250 million in punitive damages

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. 

Missouri peach farmer testifies about alleged dicamba damage

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)

Monsanto officials limited dicamba weedkiller testing, court testimony shows

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.

Majority want more oversight of CAFOs, poll finds

A majority of Americans say they want more stringent oversight of large scale livestock operations, according to a national poll by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future released Tuesday. The polling follows a recent recommendation from the nation’s leading public health association to temporarily halt the creation of new concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and increase their oversight and regulation.

A battle brews in rural Wisconsin over factory farms

A community divided. A local official accused of self-dealing. A top political appointee ousted from his job. In Wisconsin, a state where the footprint of agribusiness is growing, the question of how to regulate factory farms is a pressing topic from the town hall to the statehouse.  The issue …

GOP hoots ‘elitist’ as Democrats question USDA’s plan to relocate researchers

Hoping to dissuade Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, farm-state Democrats in Congress asked for a cost-benefit analysis that would justify moving two USDA research agencies out of Washington. Two senior Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee ridiculed the opposition to the relocation as elitism and knee-jerk obstructionism of President Trump.

Missouri bill that would end local control of CAFOs heads to governor’s desk

A bill in Missouri that would eliminate local regulation of CAFOs has passed in the state Senate and House and is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson, who is expected to sign it into law. Opponents of the bill say it favors the interests of the largest livestock farms while exposing communities to greater health and environmental risks.

In Missouri, lawmakers are poised to eliminate local regulation of CAFOs

Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms.(No paywall)

Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to California animal welfare laws

The Supreme Court announced Monday that it will not hear Missouri's challenge to California's expanded animal welfare laws, ending the legal dispute over the Golden State's rigorous humane animal standards. The decision follows a December recommendation from the Department of Justice that the highest court not hear the case and others like it.