Damages for Pesticide Loyalty, Arkansas State Plant Board & More
At least 10 class action anti-trust lawsuits have been filed by farmers against Corteva and Syngenta seeking money damages from inflated prices for pesticides as a result of manufacturers’ distribution loyalty programs which pay pesticide distributors rebates (or bonuses) for selling the manufacturers branded products to the exclusion of generics. Some of the farmer lawsuits also name BASF as well as national distributors, Helena and Nutrien. These class actions follow a similar anti-trust lawsuit filed in September 2022 by the FTC and 10 State Attorney Generals alleging violations of anti-trust laws caused by loyalty programs which we reported last fall (here). The lawsuits allege that when the patents covering the active ingredients in pesticides expired, the manufacturers launched their loyalty programs for distributors to provide large rebates for continuing to buy and sell the manufacturers’ branded pesticides. The result was a system that paid distributors to exclude generic versions of pesticides that were off-patent. The pesticide active ingredients at issue include:
- lambda cyhalothrin.
Eight of the farmer class actions were recently transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina from the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs include farmers from Illinois, Texas, New York, and Arkansas. You can also read more in Todd Neeley’s report on one of the farmer lawsuits in DTN Progressive Farmer here.
Arkansas State Plant Board Legislation on the Move
Legislation to amend the the method of selecting members to the Arkansas State Plant Board was introduced by Arkansas Senator David Wallace (Dist. 19) on February 1 and has advanced rapidly through both Senate and House committees. Senate Bill 191 will maintain 19 members on the Plant Board, with the 17 voting members all to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The members are to be selected from various disciplines, including the following specific categories:
- a practical cotton grower;
- a practical rice grower;
- a practical corn, peanut, sorghum, turf, or wheat grower;
- a practical soybean grower; and
- two farmers engaged in the production of corn, cotton, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, turf, or wheat.
It is curious why the Bill doesn’t simply state “six farmers” instead of trying to make meaningless distinction between a “practical grower” of a commodity and a farmer of the same commodity? Maybe the Senate will shed some light on the distinction when they are tasked with confirming the Governor’s appointments.