Kansas jury awards $218M to Kansas farmers in Syngenta suit

Corn Harvest (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A federal jury in Kansas has awarded nearly $218 million to farmers who sued Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta over its introduction of a genetically engineered corn seed variety.

Friday’s verdict after a three-week trial in Kansas City, Kansas, involves four Kansas farmers representing more than 7,000 farmers in the state. Another trial involving about 60,000 cases begins next month in Minnesota.

The lawsuits allege Syngenta introduced the seed variety to the U.S. market before China approved it for imports, wrecking an increasingly important export market for U.S. corn and causing price drops.

The Kansas trial was the first test case. It and the Minnesota trial will provide guidance for how the complex web of litigation in state and federal courts could be resolved.

Syngenta says it is disappointed with the verdict and will appeal.