McPherson County farmer suing seed company for loss of Chinese corn market access

By Staff Reports
January 21, 2015

A McPherson County farmer is involved in a lawsuit stemming from genetically modified corn exports.

According to an article in the Wichita Eagle, McPherson County farmer Eugene Goering has accused Syngenta Corp,, a Swiss maker of a genetically modified strain of corn, with misleadingly assuring farmers it was close to getting Chinese approval for export when U.S. officials gave their initial OK in 2010. The legal dispute centers around Syngenta's sale of a hybrid corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved it in 2010, and Syngenta first sold it to farmers in 2011.

China discovered the Viptera corn trait in several U.S. shipments in November 2013 and in February 2014 began rejecting the nation's corn. However, Syngenta told the Eagle that China approved the trait in December 2014. The approval covers corn grain and processing byproducts, such as dried distillers grains, for food and feed use.

Goering is seeking more than $75,000 in damages for losing access to the Chinese market for a year.