Arkansas Rice Farmers Can Begin Making Bayer Settlement Claims This Week

by Mark Carter  on Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011 4:26 pm  

"They couldn't take the risk that one seed might get left in with another batch and contaminate it," he said. "It took three of us two weeks to take the combine apart and clean everything. We had to, because if they found one grain [of contaminated rice], nobody would buy rice the next year."

Welch and his wife, Pam, live in the Balch community and farm about 1,700 acres of rice - 3,200 in all - at Amagon (Jackson County). Welch said the rice-farming community stuck together to make it through those first couple of years, mostly selling rice at much lower prices to developing countries. He said the settlement offers a small measure of satisfaction, but doesn't begin to make up for what his family endured.

"This settlement will keep me farming," he said.

Powell said Bayer has been put on notice by the EU to convince it that GM rice is not a danger to humans or otherwise find a substitute. Its Liberty Link rice is discontinued.

Powell's Hare Wynn firm has maintained a Little Rock office since 2001. In 2005, it helped secure a $42 million settlement for 48 Arkansas hog farmers in a fraud suit against Tyson Foods, and in 2000 won a $3 million judgment from Hillsboro Manor Nursing Home of El Dorado over alleged abuse.




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