Monsanto, Soft-White Wheat Farmers Reach Settlement; Details Still Being Finalized

September 9, 2014 06:25 AM
Monsanto, Soft-White Wheat Farmers Reach Settlement; Details Still Being Finalized

The details are still being finalized, but Monsanto and a group of soft-white wheat farmers have reached a "settlement in principle" over the discovery of genetically modified wheat in an Oregon field in 2013, according to both the attorney for the farmers and a Monsanto representative.

"We are in court-ordered mediation talks seeking a resolution," Monsanto spokesman Charla Lord said in an email Tuesday. "An agreement in principle has been reached, but not yet finalized."

James Pizzirusso, the court-appointed lawyer for the soft-white wheat farmers and a partner with Hausfeld LLP in Washington, D.C., used the same words to describe the pending settlement. "The structure is still being worked out," he said in a telephone conversation Tuesday.

Once finalized, the deal will likely involve some sort of financial compensation for the country’s soft-white wheat farmers, who were unable to market their grain in 2013 after the government announced the news. (The U.S. has approximately 4,000 to 5,000 soft-white wheat farmers, who grow the crop primarily in the Pacific Northwest.)

The glyphosate-resistant wheat proved to be an experimental strain tested by Monsanto in the late 1990s and early 2000s that had not been approved, and importers of U.S. wheat balked. Japan and South Korea, for example, temporarily halted U.S. imports of the grain in 2013 in response to the discovery. 

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