Bayer to appeal jury's $265M verdict for weedkiller's damage to peach farm

A Missouri peach farmer was awarded nearly $300M in damages after weedkiller dicamba damaged the trees on his property

Lawyers for Bayer AG, the maker of weed killer dicamba, plan to appeal a jury’s decision to award a Missouri farmer $265 million in damages after the pesticide traveled from nearby farms and damaged the peach trees on his property, according to reports.

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Bill Bader, whose Bader Farms is one of the largest peach farms in Missouri, was awarded the $265 million in punitive damages on Saturday, just one day after Bader was awarded $15 million in actual damages. The suit was filed against Bayer and BASF, which invented dicamba.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BAYRYBAYER AG14.29-0.14-0.97%
BASFYBASF SE10.94-0.30-2.67%

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The jury agreed with Bader that dicamba had drifted over from other farms and severely damaged Bader Farms. Bader’s attorneys argued that his trees likely wouldn’t survive the dicamba exposure, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Attorneys for the companies argued that the trees on Bader’s farm were damaged by root fungus and adverse weather, not dicamba drift.

Representatives from Bayer said they plan to appeal.

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“We want our customers to know that, as this legal matter continues, we remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering them the effective and sustainable tools they need in the field,” Bayer said in a statement.

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Farmers have been using dicamba for more than 50 years, but after Monsanto — which Bayer bought in 2018 — released dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, the weedkiller’s use became more widespread, leading to more complaints from neighboring farms whose non-dicamba-resistant crops were getting killed off by dicamba drift.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.