OMAHA (DTN) -- The first settlement payments for farmers in the Syngenta corn class action lawsuit are expected to be sent out sometime this week, according to an announcement from attorneys representing farmers in the case.
A majority of farmers can expect total payments exceeding $5,000, according to a news release from Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP based in Kansas City, Missouri.
On Feb. 28, 2020, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in Kansas City, approved interim payments to eligible corn growers, grain-handling facilities and ethanol plants.
The court previously approved the $1.51 billion settlement from a lawsuit filed following Syngenta's release of Agrisure Viptera (MIR162) and Agrisure Duracade corn traits.
Beginning on or around March 20, the checks will be mailed to a number of eligible class members.
That includes producers and landlords who are expected to receive about 65% of their estimated total settlement amount, and grain-handling facilities and ethanol plants that will receive about 50% of their estimated total settlement amount.
According to the law firm, the remaining money of each class settlement amount is expected to be paid in the fall of 2020 when all claims are expected to be processed.
To receive payment, class members must have submitted all required payment documents, including W-9 forms. No payments will be made unless and until W-9 forms are received.
Syngenta spokesperson Paul Minehart previously told DTN that Syngenta plays no role in the distribution of settlement funds, as the company already has contributed $1.51 billion.
According to the settlement, there are four subclasses approved as eligible for payments.
First, are farmers who owned any interest in corn in the United States but did not plant the Syngenta seeds in question. A second subclass includes any producer who owned any interest in corn in the U.S. priced for sale, purchased Agrisure Viptera and/or Agrisure Duracade corn seed, and produced corn grown from those traits.
The settlement also will include any grain-handling facility and ethanol plants that owned interest in corn priced for sale during the period.
The court said the first class will receive at least $1.44 billion. Most of that money will go to corn growers and landlords who did not grow Duracade or Viptera corn seeds. Payouts in the second class are limited to $22.6 million, $29.9 million for the third class and $19.5 million for the fourth class.
Plaintiffs in the cases allege Syngenta sold corn with Agrisure Viptera and Duracade traits prior to the traits receiving import approvals in several countries, including China. China claims it found and rejected corn shipments containing the traits, which plaintiffs said led to lower corn prices.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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