Growers with soybean injury and yield loss from dicamba in the past six years have only three more weeks to file a claim with the Dicamba Soybean Grower Settlement.
The deadline to file claims is May 28, 2021. The settlement is from Monsanto (a legal entity now owned by Bayer), which agreed to make $400 million available to resolve multi-district litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri over dicamba injury claims.
Of that amount, $300 million has been set aside for payments to commercial soybean growers who suffered yield loss from dicamba between 2015 and 2020.
The settlement filing period began Dec. 30, when a website was established for growers to file their claims. You can find it here.
Here’s what interested farmers need to know:
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
This particular settlement is only available to commercial soybean growers who experienced dicamba injury any time between 2015 and 2020. Growers of other types of row crops or specialty crops are not eligible to file claims. The original lawsuits that inspired this settlement did include some non-soybean growers, but their claims are being settled separately.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Farmers can file a claim by themselves, or through a lawyer or legal firm. A claim form is listed on the website, as well as access to the portal where it can be submitted.
However, filing a claim will also require documentation that you not only experienced dicamba injury, but also lost yield from it. Growers will need:
- Records showing injury, such as time-stamped photos and videos.
- Any records from a formal state or private investigation of the injury.
- Yield data for the affected fields, both for the year of damage and years without damage as well as yield data from “benchmark fields” that establish another baseline yield to compare with the damaged fields.
The dicamba settlement website includes detailed information on what qualifies as acceptable records, yield data, benchmark fields and more in its FAQs section: here.
WHAT RIGHTS DO I GIVE UP?
Growers who file claims and accept a settlement amount for dicamba-injured fields should be aware that doing so wipes that slate clean. Filing a claim and accepting the resulting settlement will terminate any lawsuits you have brought — or might bring in the future — for those damaged fields.
Growers do have the right to appeal their settlement amount if they don’t think it’s sufficient but must do so within 30 days. Growers also have something called “walk-away rights.”
If all the claims result in a total settlement amount beyond the $300 million cap that Monsanto agreed to, all the individual claims will be adjusted downward. Growers can abandon the settlement if, after that adjustment, Monsanto’s final offer doesn’t amount to at least 75% of what they are owed.
Otherwise, as the website notes: “This Settlement process is your sole and exclusive remedy for Claims, and you will be bound by its results.”
See the full legal terms of the settlement here.
Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
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