Syngenta GMO Settlement Claims Due October 12, 2018

Syngenta GMO Settlement Claims Due October 12, 2018 May 23, 2018

This was originally published in the May 23 Cornhusker Economics.

Eligible producers and landlords must file their claims online no later than October 12, 2018 to be eligible to share in the settlement. If an applicant doesn't have internet access, they can call 1-833-567-2676 to request a paper form to be filed by the deadline.

The federal judge presiding over the Syngenta class action lawsuit granted preliminary approval for the $1.51 billion Syngenta GMO corn lawsuit settlement on April 10, 2018. Written settlement notices have been mailed to corn producers, crop-share and some variable cash rent landlords, grain handling facilities, and ethanol production facilities beginning on May 11, 2018. This newsletter focuses on the claims process for corn producers and eligible landlords.

What happened on May 11? On May 11, 2018, a claim settlement information packet was mailed to eligible corn producers, landlords, and others. Eligible producers and landlords may file their claims immediately, and must have them filed no later than October 12, 2018 to be eligible to share in the settlement.

What is in the settlement information packet? The settlement packet includes detailed information regarding the Syngenta class action lawsuit and the settlement process. You should read this information carefully. The packet describes the information needed to file your claim.

What corn producers are eligible? Producers who priced corn for sale between September 15, 2013 and April 10, 2018, and who have not opted out of the class action lawsuit or settlement are eligible to receive settlement payments. Producers who planted Viptera or Duracade seed are in a different payment category but are eligible to participate in the settlement payout.

How are claims filed? You can file your claim online at https://www.cornseedsettlement.com/ or with a paper claim form (call 1-833-567-2676). You can download a claim form and fill it out to help you complete the online claim form. The deadline for filing your claim is October 12, 2018. 

How will payments be made? Essentially, payments will be based on the number of corn acres (as per your FSA Form 578 or RMA crop insurance information) times the average county yield as determined by USDA NASS data for each crop year. More information on this topic is included in the Iowa State publication referenced at the end of this newsletter and in the settlement packet.

What is the payment process? On or around November 15, 2018, the judge will hold a “fairness” hearing on whether to approve the settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate. Also, Syngenta will have a limited opportunity to withdraw from the settlement if too many producers have opted out of the settlement. If the judge approves the settlement, Syngenta must pay the settlement amount into the settlement fund no later than April 1, 2019 or 30 days after the judge approves the settlement, whichever is later. If producers object to the settlement plan, it could be a year or so before payments are made.

More detailed information about the settlement process is available from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural Law & Taxation at http://www.calt.iastate.edu/blogpost/corn-farmers-may-begin-filing-claims-syngenta-settlement-may-11.