Monsanto has been quick to point fingers at farmers for the dicamba disaster that drifted across millions of crop acres in the U.S. this summer, but a special report from Reuters suggests that the seed giant knew for years that such a catastrophe could unfold.
In February, farmers across 10 states sued the company, alleging that Monsanto knowingly marketed its Xtend cotton and soybean seeds to farmers without any safe herbicide.
"Monsanto chose to sell these seeds before they could be safely cultivated," said Bev Randles of Randles & Splittgerber, the Kansas City, Missouri law firm representing the farmers. "Monsanto's own advertising repeatedly describes its Xtend seeds and its accompanying herbicide as a 'system' intended to be used together. But when Monsanto failed to get approval to sell the herbicide, it recklessly chose to go ahead and sell the seeds regardless."
Still, dicamba is now at the very problematic center of 3.6 million acres of crop damage in 25 states just this year alone, University of Missouri weed scientist Kevin Bradley estimated. The companies have blamed farmers for not following instructions or improperly using their products.
This is what I understand from this lawsuit. I'm not sure how this dicamba pesticide works but it seems very dangerous and Monsanto screwed up by selling seeds to farmers without having the correct dicamba formula for these seeds approved by the FDA. So the farmers claim the Monsanto reps told them to use an older formula of dicamba and for reason unknown to me the older formula damaged crops adjacent to these seeds being sprayed with dicamba. Monsanto is denying they told farmers to do this but we'll have to see who wins the case.
3.6 million acres of damaged crops is a huge area and Monsanto would be screwed if they had to pay just $100 per acre.