A federal court jury in Missouri has returned a verdict against the German conglomerate Bayer CropScience and ordered the company to pay $1.5 million to farmers in Arkansas and Mississippi whose rice seed was contaminated with a genetically altered strain. The verdict was the second against Bayer CropScience for losses sustained by farmers when an experimental variety of rice that Bayer was testing infiltrated the farmers’ crops.
In December a jury awarded about $2 million to two Missouri farmers. There are three additional test cases scheduled to be tried this year involving farmers in Louisiana and Texas as well as a rice exporter. Thus far no punitive damages have been awarded by any of the jurors. The contamination slowed international orders for Arkansas rice, which in turn drove down the price. These will be the facts in all of the cases.
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