U.S. corn farmers are seeking federal court approval of a $1.5-billion settlement with Syngenta for its decision to sell them a GMO corn variety before China had approved it for import, reported Reuters.
Syngenta announced this week that it will pay $550,000 in fines after the Environmental Protection Agency found that it misused the pesticide chlorpyrifos at a test field in Hawaii. The fine is dramatically lower than the nearly $5 million initially sought by the Obama administration. Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA chief, overruled a recommendation by agency scientists to ban chlorpyrifos for agricultural use.
Syngenta yesterday announced its acquisition of FarmShots, a North Carolina-based data company that assesses plant health and other farm conditions. The acquisition marks the latest move by seed and ag-chemical companies to grow their presence in the farm data sector.
The research firm CB Insights says investors put more than $700 million into agricultural-technology companies in 2017, far more than the combined $565 million of the two preceding years, said the Financial Times.
In 2013, China drove down corn prices by rejecting U.S. cargoes that included a GMO variety sold by Syngenta that had not yet been approved for import by Beijing. The disruption led to lawsuits against the Swiss agribusiness, which may pay close to $1.5 billion to settle the litigation, said Reuters.
In the first of several class-action lawsuits pending against Syngenta, a federal-court jury awarded $217.7 million to farmers who blamed the seed company for a collapse in corn prices when China rejected cargoes of corn that included the genetically modified Syngenta strain.
In Kansas City, a class-action lawsuit says Syngenta should be held liable for corn shipments rejected by China early this decade. And in Elk Point, South Dakota, Beef Products Inc. (BPI) is seeking billions of dollars in damages from American Broadcasting Companies Inc. (ABC) for reporting that used the name "pink slime" to refer to BPI's "lean finely textured beef."
Hawaiian lawmakers killed a bill that would have required agribusiness companies like Monsanto and Syngenta to notify nearby residents before spraying pesticides, says Civil Beat. “Reporting provisions requiring notifications for each application would be very onerous and difficult to carry out,” testified Warren Mayberry, DuPont Pioneer’s senior manager of government affairs.
U.S. regulators are taking more time to study ChemChina's deal to buy Syngenta, says Bloomberg, citing the Swiss seed and ag chemical company. The transaction is one of three that would transform the seed and chemical sector into a "big three" from a "big six."
In a victory for Monsanto, Syngenta and other seed companies farming in Hawaii, a federal appeals court ruled that counties can’t regulate pesticide use or GMO crops, says Civil Beat. “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Friday that Hawaii state pesticide law is comprehensive, and that the Legislature intended it to be 'uniform and exclusive of additional, local rules.'”