Former U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart of Belleville is looking to represent farmers in lawsuits against Syngenta, a Swiss producer of seed corn.
Enyart, who is a practicing attorney, is working with Texas-based attorney Mikal Watts to represent farmers across the country in lawsuits against Syngenta after it attempted to sell genetically modified corn to China in 2013.
China had not approved Syngenta’s GMO corn and rejected it. The country proceeded to reject all other corn from the United States because of the tainted supply chain, Enyart said.
It led to a drop in corn prices after the U.S. market had an excess corn supply, Enyart said.
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“In 2013, corn prices plummeted thanks to the underhanded practices of Syngenta,” Enyart said. “We’re working to get our farmers the money they deserve for their hard work and their quality crops.”
A phone call to Syngenta’s U.S. corporate office was not returned on Friday.
The former congressman is looking to represent anyone who grew corn and lost money because of the Syngenta move. He said soybean growers also may have been negatively affected by Syngenta’s actions.
Enyart will be holding informational sessions in Southern and Central Illinois for farmers who might wish to join the class-action lawsuit. One session is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday at Eckert’s, 951 S. Green Mount Road, Belleville.
“We want to make sure farmers understand the theory of why they’re damaged, how they were damaged, and what their recourse is,” Enyart said.
Enyart said the litigation could affect tens of thousands of farmers.
“Losses in the agricultural sector of the economy mean farmers didn’t have money to buy the new tractor, or the new plow, or the new pickup truck,” Enyart said. “Clearly the agricultural sector was affected by it.”
Enyart, a Democrat, served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lost re-election in November to Republican Mike Bostof Murphysboro.
Enyart now has a law office in Belleville and was recruited by Watts to find clients in Illinois.