Biotech class action claims dismissed

As of October 1, a federal judge has denied efforts to certify an antitrust class action suit against biotechnology companies Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and DuPont. U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Sippel ruled that plaintiffs had an inadequate case to claim that the companies insufficiently tested biotechnology products before introducing them into the marketplace. The court also denied claims that the companies conspired to fix price premiums or “tech fees” at unreasonably high levels.

The ruling prevents an expansion of a 1999 lawsuit to include more than 100,000 farmers. Six farmers in Indiana and Iowa and one in France are listed as the original plaintiffs. The National Farm Coalition, a group opposed to biotechnology, and anti-biotech activist Jeremy Rifkin were primarily responsible for recruiting the team of nine law firms that have handled the suit.

UAP forms Loveland Products

United Agri Products (UAP) crop protection, adjuvant and seed treatment products will now be sold under the Loveland Products name. Dyna-Gro and Nortrace will be Loveland's brands for seed and plant nutrition. Loveland Products Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of UAP and is based in Greeley, CO.

Brazil GM crop fiasco

On September 15, the Brazilian national government issued a temporary decree making it legal for the country's farmers to grow and sell genetically modified (GM) soybeans through 2004. (Previously, it had been illegal to grow GM soybeans in Brazil, but most farmers disobeyed the law.) Then a new wrinkle: In mid October, the Brazilian state of Parana, which controls key shipping ports, banned the planting, marketing and industrialization of transgenic soy. Hundreds of trucks have been blocked from delivering their soybeans in the state.