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The steak dinners, unsolicited seed corn caps with questionable logos, are long burned or covered with grease. The claim regarding Sygenta’s interference with the US Corn market appears to be reduced to a number. The settlement committee reached a preliminary agreement and submitted it to the court for approval the second week of March.

In summary, if the court approves the settlement:

Syngenta will owe $1.51 billion to four groups, with maximum settlement cap amounts for 3 groups. The remainder after distribution to these 3 groups, a minimum of $1.44 billion, is to be distributed to group 1.

The four settlement groups were defined as:

  1. 1. Growers who did not use Duricade or Viptera
  2. 2. Growers who did use Duricade or Viptera (max $22.6M)
  3. 3. Grain handlers (max $29.9M)
  4. 4. Ethanol producers (max $19.5M)

Years of production are 2013/14 through 2017/18 and a “weighted average” percentage will be used as follows:

                2013/14 = 26%

                2014/15 = 33%

                2015/16 = 20%

                2016/17 = 11%

                2017/18 = 10%

Yield will be determined solely by FSA578s (certified production records) with the exception of landlords who will have a claim form. The calculation for settlement, though, will be acres x average county yield per acre x weighted average. If not FSA 578, it would appear that crop insurance records would be used.

The settlement does not allow for silage or “fed on farm” corn. Dairy and Beef producers who walk the corn off the farm instead of trucking it will not be making a claim for that production that was fed.

 If the settlement is approved:

The 1st notice is to be mailed 10 days from approval of this proposed agreement. The opt-out deadline is 90 days from the mailing of the 1st notice. Claims deadline is 150 days from the mailing of the 1st notice. Final payment of Syngenta escrow to fund the settlement is April 1, 2019.

Unfortunately, it is still impossible to estimate a per bushel settlement value.

This will come potentially as farmers are distracted by spring activities. These settlements rarely have a second chance if the initial deadline is missed. Even those who have “signed up” and provided information to an attorney should be on the lookout for the settlement documents, and they should follow through with the required steps to ensure they are counted in the distribution. I expect a heavy advertising campaign will ensue to make sure all producers are counted. The plan calls for using government records to generate lists of people to contact.

Don’t bid up the neighbor’s rent just yet, but the chances are increasing that a small windfall might be coming to the producers who marketed corn over the years 2012-2018.

Monday, December 17, 2018
  • Patrick B. Dillon
  • Jill Dillon
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Patrick B. Dillon enjoys finding solutions to legal issues and catching problems for clients. Pat practices in the Sumner office regularly represents clients in district, associate district and magistrate courts for agricultural, real estate, criminal and collection issues. He drafts wills and trusts, creates estate plans and helps clients through the probate process.
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Jill Dillon focuses on family law, estate planning and IRS matters. Jill is a University of Northern Iowa undergraduate (Political Science Cum Laude) and a Drake University Law School graduate. Jill spent extensive time advocating for low income tax payers in front of the IRS and the State of Iowa Department of Revenue while at Drake.

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