BASF and Monsanto faces a class action lawsuit on behalf of farmers in a number of states, indicate that problems with the Engenia herbicide has caused “massive harm to crops.”
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Jed. R. Claassen and Claasen Farms in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on August 18, indicating that BASF and Monsanto’s dicambra-tolerant crop system has resulted in damage, yield loss, crop failure and financial ruin for farmers in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and other states.
The Engenia lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of farmers whose crops have been damaged by the dicambra-based herbicide. The complaint indicates that the manufacturers knew or should have known that dicambra could spread to nearby crops, specifically soy, which were intolerant to the herbicide, causing significant damage.
“Defendants have long had knowledge and understanding of the physical characteristics, formulations, and properties of dicamba,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants created a ‘new formulation’ of dicamba herbicide, which causes damage to neighboring crops because of its volatility, i.e., from vapor particles lifting into the atmosphere and moving away from the intended target. This off-target movement includes climatic inversions where vapor particles volatilize and become suspended in air and move to a non-dicamba-resistant crop area. Further, dicamba can move by wind drift, water run-off, and by particles attaching to dust and moving to a non-dicamba-resistant crop area. Thus, killing or damaging sensitive (non-dicamba-tolerant) crops.”
Dicambra is a synthetic herbicide, which has been used for years by farmers nationwide to control weeds. However, it was only used during certain times of year. The lawsuit indicates that Monsanto and BASF marketed a new type of dicambra-tolerant crop, which was designed to allow farmers to use Engenia for over-the-top use (on crops emerging from the ground) for the first time in 2016.
The lawsuit claims that Monsanto rushed the system and either withheld or concealed information from regulatory authorities about the volatility of Engenia, and marketed dicambra-tolerant crops without approval from regulators. The complaint alleges that the manufacturer knew the use of the herbicide would endanger other nearby crops.
Farmers in affected states, particularly Kansas, suffered millions of dollars in crop damage when Engenia drifted onto neighboring, sensitive crops in the 2017 growing season, according to the Engenia class action.
The lawsuit presents claims for strict products liability, negligence, breach of warranty, violations of Kansas consumer protection laws, fraudulent concealment, fraud, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, and private nuisance.