Jury awards $280 million to peach farmer who sued Bayer and BASF


On Saturday, a jury in Missouri awarded $265 million in punitive damages to a peach farmer who sued Bayer and BASF. The penalty was levied on top of the $15 million in actual damages awarded to Bill Bader, who owns the peach farm.

In the lawsuit, Bader states that dicamba, a weedkiller, drifted onto his orchard from surrounding farms and damaged his trees.

This is the first of many cases involving dicamba. Bayer and BASF, the creators of the weedkiller, claimed the trees were instead damaged by root fungus and poor weather.

In a statement, Bayer said, “We will swiftly appeal the decision. While we have great empathy for any farmer who suffers from crop losses, in the case of Mr. Bader there was no competent evidence presented which showed that Monsanto’s products were present on his farm and were responsible for his losses. …

“Bayer stands firmly behind the company’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System and Xtendimax herbicide with VaporGrip technology. These are valuable tools for growers who need effective options to increase yields and combat resistant weeds and do not pose any unreasonable risk of off-target movement when used according to label directions.”

Dicamba has been used for decades, but recently the release of dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans made the weedkiller’s use more common. There have been several complaints filed by neighboring farms whose non-dicamba-resistant crops were being damaged and killed by dicamba drift.