DALLAS – South Dakota corn farmers are among producers from 20 corn growing states involved in two class action lawsuits regarding what they say are economic losses from genetically modified corn.

The three law firms involved in the litigation filed their complaints Nov. 11 in federal court in St. Louis and Kansas City, Kan. and amended them this week to include 20 states. The firms say these 20 states represent 86 percent of the corn planted in the United States in 2014.

Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C. of St. Louis, Gray Reed & McGraw, P.C. of Texas and Hare Wynn Newell & Newton of Birmingham, Alabama filed class-action lawsuits accusing Switzerland-based Syngenta of causing economic harm to corn growers after the company marketed two genetically modified strains of corn - Agrisure Viptera and Agrisure Duracade. These strains are outlawed in China.  China, a major importer of U.S. corn, began refusing shipments of U.S. corn one year ago after a genetic trait found in Viptera - MIR162 - was detected in the shipments.

With the loss of the Chinese market, the firms say prices for U.S. corn have plummeted. Earlier this year, the firms claim losses to corn growers and the industry due to the loss of the Chinese market were estimated to be from $1 billion to $2.9 billion.  The corn growers' financial losses continue to grow, the lawsuits allege.

This new multi-state lawsuit further alleges that the company was aware of the potential damages from its actions but sold the seeds with MIR162 anyway.

The 20 states included in these latest MIR162 class action lawsuits account for approximately 86 percent of all corn acres in the United States.  They are: Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas and Montana.

The three firms anticipate that they will be representing farmers from other corn-producing states in the near future.

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