Bayer and BASF hit with $265 million verdict for damages jury concludes were caused by dicamba weedkiller

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A jury ruled against Bayer and BASF SE in a crop-damage case, awarding $265 million to a Missouri peach farmer who claimed the companies encouraged farmers to irresponsibly spray a hard-to-control weedkiller.

The ruling in a federal court in Missouri on [February 15] comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is set to decide by the end of this year whether farmers will continue to be allowed to spray the companies’ dicamba-based herbicides on crops.

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A Bayer spokesman said that the company planned to appeal the Bader Farms verdict, and that dicamba remains a valuable tool for farmers that can be used safely. A BASF spokeswoman said the company would consider its legal options and keep working with farmers to mitigate dicamba-related crop damage.

Dicamba has been shown in university field trials and farm research to be prone to evaporating off fields where it is sprayed and drifting, posing a threat to nearby crops, trees and residential gardens. Bayer and BASF have said their new formulations of the herbicide, called XtendiMax and Engenia, hold better to where they are sprayed.

The companies began marketing dicamba-resistant seeds in 2015, before the EPA had approved the companies’ related herbicides, according to Mr. Bader’s complaint.

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[Editors note: The GLP recently ran a 4-part series on the ‘Dicamba Debacle’. Read part one, part two, part three and part four.]

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