Bayer and BASF ordered to pay peach farm for damages

DTN — A federal jury has determined Bayer and BASF should pay $250 million in punitive damages and $15 million in actual damages to a Missouri peach farm in response to allegations that the orchard was damaged by off-target movement of dicamba herbicide.

The jury’s verdict came after three weeks of testimony in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Bader Farms filed the suit in 2016 — blaming Monsanto (which was purchased by Bayer in 2018) and BASF for the scenario that allowed dicamba herbicides to move from neighboring fields and damage peach trees. Bader Farms is the largest peach grower in Missouri, listing more than 1,000 acres of peaches and 110,000 trees. The farm also grows other specialty crops and row crops.

Bayer immediately responded with an announcement the verdict would be appealed. BASF spokesman Odessa Hines told DTN via email that BASF had not yet made decisions as to next steps. How the penalty would be split between the two companies should the verdict remain intact is also undecided.
Bayer posted an official response soon after the verdict. “We are disappointed with the jury’s verdict. While we have empathy for Mr. Bader, Monsanto’s products were not responsible for the losses sought in this lawsuit and we look forward to appealing the decision.”

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