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BASF Corporation

Dicamba graphic
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A federal jury’s decision last week to side with Missouri’s largest peach producer could have implications for other dicamba-related lawsuits awaiting trial.

The jury in Cape Girardeau found that ag giants Monsanto and BASF Corporation are responsible for extensive dicamba damage on Dunklin County-based Bader Farms.

The jury’s verdict also found the companies conspired to damage crops in order to increase profits of dicamba-tolerant seed and related herbicides. Total damages add up to $265 million.

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

CAPE GIRARDEAU — A federal jury in the first dicamba-related lawsuit to go to trial determined Saturday that Monsanto and BASF should pay $250 million in punitive damages.

That’s more than the $200 million suggested by lawyers working for the plaintiff, Bader Farms. 

Missouri’s largest peach producer, owned by Bill and Denise Bader, sued the ag giants for causing extensive dicamba damage to its orchards.

Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Missouri's largest peach farm, allege in their lawsuit that Monsanto and BASF are to blame for extensive dicamba damage.
File photo | Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m., Feb. 14 with reaction to verdict

A jury found in favor of Bader Farms on all counts Friday, awarding $15 million in damages.

Monsanto and BASF were found liable for negligent design of the products and negligent failure to warn regarding the products. 

The jury also found that the two companies created a joint venture to manufacture and sell dicamba-resistant seed and low-volatility herbicides, and that they conspired to create an “ecological disaster” to increase profits.

Bill and Denise Bader, owners of Missouri's largest peach farm, allege in their lawsuit that Monsanto and BASF are to blame for extensive dicamba damage.
File photo | Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

CAPE GIRARDEAU — A substitute teacher, a homemaker and a truck driver are among the eight jurors selected Monday to hear the first dicamba-related lawsuit to go to trial.

In Missouri’s Bootheel, where farming is a major industry, it took several hours for U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. to dismiss those with connections to herbicides, Monsanto or Bader Farms.

The trial centers around a lawsuit filed by the Dunklin County-based peach orchard, which is Missouri’s largest producer of the fruit. The lawsuit alleges dicamba-based weed killers repeatedly drifted from neighboring cotton and soybean fields, damaging more than 30,000 trees.

Dicamba graphic
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Five years ago, the owner of Missouri’s largest peach farm started noticing damage to his orchard. A year later, Bader Farms estimated a loss of more than 30,000 trees. 

A lawsuit filed by the farm in 2016 alleges Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, and herbicide maker BASF Corp. are to blame because the weed killer drifted from other fields. Both companies deny the allegations.

That suit, which seeks $21 million in damages, will be heard in federal court starting Monday in Cape Girardeau. It will be the first of several dicamba-related suits against the corporations to go to trial.