If you grew soybeans between 2015 and 2020 and believe your crops were damaged by drifting dicamba herbicides, Bayer may have a settlement for you. Bayer is moving ahead with settlement agreements with soybean farmers and growers alleging damage to their crops from herbicides containing dicamba drifting from neighboring fields.

The agreements were announced in June, but their implementation was delayed while a court reviewed them. They represent Bayer’s attempt to resolve the bulk of the thousands of outstanding claims involving dicamba, although they do not include some cases that are still moving through the courts.

The settlement terms were announced Dec. 31 on a website called topclassactions.com, in the name of Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer in 2016. The announcement said up to $300 million had been set aside to cover claims from “commercial soybean producers whose crops showed symptoms of exposure to dicamba between the 2015 to 2020 growing seasons.” The deadline to file a claim form in the soybean class action settlement is May 28, 2021.

The agreement does not require Bayer to admit any wrongdoing. The dicamba plaintiffs had originally claimed that then-Monsanto concealed information about the risks of dicamba drift, and of using off-label herbicides with genetically modified soybean and cotton seeds, from Congress and regulators. Participants who accept a settlement waive their right to sue for any further dicamba damages during the period specified.

“Class members wishing to submit a claim in the soybean class action settlement must provide adequate documentation, including injury records for each affected field and damage year; any administrative agency reports they have; actual yield data for affected fields and benchmark fields for damage years, plus at least three non-damage years in which the benchmark and affected fields that were planted with soybeans closest in time to the damage year,” according to the agreement.

Amounts paid to claimants will be determined individually, based on yield records and documentation including ownership interest, the prevailing price of soybeans and other information, including information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

David Murray can be reached at journal@hpj.com.

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