By Julie Harker of Brownfield Ag News
Monsanto’s request to have the case filed against it by a southeast Missouri peach farm be heard in federal court has been granted automatically.
The suit filed on behalf of Bill Bader and Bader Farms in Dunklin County, Missouri in December accuses Monsanto of knowingly marketing its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds without a safe formulation of dicamba herbicide. The suit says dicamba drift from older, more volatile formulations used by farmers caused the loss of 30,000 fruit and nut trees on the farm and $1.5 million in damages.
Monsanto has said it sympathizes with the farmers who suffered damage from drift but that it warned growers about the illegal use of dicamba and the fault is with those who used it. The company also said the benefits of the seeds to farmers’ yields were too great to wait. The companion dicamba formulation received EPA approval late last year.
Monsanto tells Brownfield it believes a federal forum is appropriate in this case. The attorney for Bader Farms told the Daily Dunklin Democrat that she will work to move the case back to Dunklin County where the harm occurred to their client.
Since June, the state Agriculture Department has investigated more than 100 complaints involving crops damaged by dicamba. The complaints, which have come from five southeast Missouri counties and northwest Missouri’s Carroll County, allege damage to soybeans, peaches, watermelons, tomatoes, cotton, peanuts and some alfalfa.