Canadian corn farmers could be in for big payday
LONDON, ONT. -- A London law firm is leading the charge on behalf of Canadian farmers who suffered decreased corn prices during the past few years.
Mckenzie Lake lawyers are representing corn producers who have been given approval by the Ontario Court of Appeal to seek compensation from Syngenta Canada for economic loss.
They are alleging that Syngenta marketed genetically modified corn seed in North America before receiving import approval from China.
"Once the modified corn was on the market here and co-mingled with corn people were growing, China stopped accepting corn from North America," says Matt Baer, lead counsel in the Canadian proceeding. "It caused huge glut in the market and prices went way down and caused a lot of losses."
Baer says Syngenta has refused to offer compensation to Canadian producers even though a similar claim was successful in the U.S.
He adds the Court of Appeal isn't saying the action will be successful, but does believe the case deserves to be heard on its facts.
In the U.S. farmers are receiving between $15-$150 per acre in compensation.
"Some farmers would have hundreds of acres, some would have thousands. The U.S. case settled for $1.5 billion so there is lots of money at stake," adds Baer.
CTV News reached out to Syngenta Canada. The company responded late in the day, but refused to clarify their position.
“Syngenta has sought leave to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada,” said Claire Wooding, Syngenta communications lead. “Accordingly, since this the matter continues to be considered by the courts, Syngenta has no comment.”
This is the first time the firm is going public with the action, but they are expecting - based on the decision south of the border - that Canadian farmers will be excited to learn of potential compensation.
Any corn producer who put product to market after Nov. 18, 2013 is automatically included.
"Anyone who is a producer of corn, and trying to sell it should suffered the loss, whether they were selling Syngenta corn or not," says Baer. He suggests farmers call the law firm and make sure they have contact information.
"If and when we get to the stage where there is a successful resolution, they can make a claim."