By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News
A southeast Missouri peach farm is suing Monsanto for damage caused by a pesticide called dicamba. The attorney for Bill Bader and Bader Farms has filed the suit in Dunklin County. The lawsuit accuses Monsanto of knowingly marketing its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds to farmers without a safe herbicide to use with it. The suit says farmers had no choice but to illegally spray dicamba to protect their crops from weeds.
The attorney says Bader Farms had more than 7,000 peach trees damaged by the pesticide drift last year and lost more than 30,000 trees this year. Bader Farms is the state’s largest peach producer, located in Campbell, Missouri.
In a statement from Monsanto Company, said the responsibility is that of the individuals who knowingly broke the law by applying dicamba and that the products were released because of their “tremendous value for growers even without application of dicamba.”
The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the EPA have been investigating the pesticide damage to crops and vegetables in the area since this summer.
The lawsuit was filed by Randles & Splittgerber, LLP, a Kansas City of Kansas City.
Monsanto’s full statement:
When it comes to maximizing performance, farmers are in need of new technology to help them combat troublesome weeds. We spent years researching and developing our best products and varieties for the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. In addition to the trait as another mode of action for weed control, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton were developed utilizing the latest breeding advancements to provide farmers with strong yield potential. That yield potential itself presents tremendous value for growers even without application of dicamba, and we wanted our customers to experience that advantage as quickly as possible. We did not charge growers for the trait because the herbicide had not been approved for over-the-top use.
Both prior to and throughout the 2016 season, Monsanto took many steps to remind growers, dealers and applicators that dicamba was not approved for in-crop use at the time, and we do not condone the illegal use of any pesticide. While we sympathize with those who have been impacted by farmers who chose to apply dicamba illegally, this lawsuit attempts to shift responsibility away from individuals who knowingly and intentionally broke state and federal law and harmed their neighbors in the process. Responsibility for these actions belongs to those individuals alone. We will defend ourselves accordingly.