Bayer, BASF Ordered to Pay $265 Million in Dicamba Case

Wall Street Journal writer Jacob Bunge reported on Saturday that, “A jury ruled against Bayer AG and BASF SE in a crop-damage case, awarding $265 million to a Missouri peach farmer who claimed the companies encouraged farmers to irresponsibly spray a hard-to-control weedkiller.

“Peach farmer Bill Bader sued the pesticide-and-seed makers after he said thousands of his fruit trees sustained damage in 2015 and 2016. The damage, he alleged, was caused by a herbicide called dicamba that drifted from neighboring cotton fields, planted with dicamba-resistant biotech seeds developed by Bayer and BASF.

“The legal battle over dicamba deepens Bayer’s legal troubles over its top-selling herbicides. The Bader Farms Inc. case was the first involving dicamba to go to trial and a bellwether for about 35 similar lawsuits filed by farmers seeking damages in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri and other states.”

The Journal article stated that, “The ruling in a federal court in Missouri on Saturday comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is set to decide by the end of this year whether farmers will continue to be allowed to spray the companies’ dicamba-based herbicides on crops.

“Bayer separately is fighting more than 42,000 plaintiffs claiming its biggest-selling herbicide, Roundup, caused their cancer. The company has argued that decades of scientific research, as well as reviews by regulators including the EPA, prove Roundup’s safety. Bayer has lost the first three cases to go to trial, and is appealing those rulings.

“A Bayer spokesman said that the company planned to appeal the Bader Farms verdict, and that dicamba remains a valuable tool for farmers that can be used safely. A BASF spokeswoman said the company would consider its legal options and keep working with farmers to mitigate dicamba-related crop damage.”

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