Twenty states in the U.S. are currently involved in the litigation between Syngenta and farmers and farm businesses. Syngenta is based in Switzerland and represents one of the largest crop chemicals in the world with an annual estimated revenue of approximately $15 billion. It has an agricultural seed division based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Most of the complaints are based on the sale of a corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The corn was approved by the The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2010 and Syngenta sold it to farmers in 2011.
The complaints involving a large number of lawsuits have been consolidated and assigned to Federal Judge Judge John Lungstrom in Kansas City.
China, one of the major importers of U.S. corn has in recent years made economical waves by refusing genetically modified crops that have not been improved for import citing contamination of corn products. The complaints allege that more than 131 million bushels have been rejected by China.
The resulting economical loss to U.S. farmers is estimated to be between $1 billion and $3 billion. Farmers who have not planted Syngenta seeds and other affiliated entities are claiming that they have been damages due to the Chinese ban of U.S. corn and con byproducts.
Complaints with similar allegations have been filed in the major corn growing states including Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraskainvolved represent a diverse field including farmers represented by individual attorneys, class-action lawsuits and agribusiness conglomerates such as Cargill and ADM, which export grain, All claim to have suffered multi-million business losses.