New York Times (pg. D4)  [Printer-friendly version]
June 16, 1998


Three Mississippi cotton farmers who planted genetically engineered
seed, then watched as their cotton bolls shriveled and fell to the
ground, should be paid more than $1.9 million by the Monsanto Company
and two seed companies for their losses, an arbitration council of the
Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce ruled on Friday.

The Mississippi Seed Arbitration Council's decision is not binding and
it was unclear yesterday whether Monsanto along with the Delta and
Pine Land Company and its subsidiary, the Paymaster Technology
Company, which are both now being purchased by Monsanto, would pay the
ordered amount.

Fifty-five Mississippi farmers who used Roundup Ready cotton seed
complained to the arbitration council last fall, saying the seed,
which incorporated a gene developed by Monsanto that was supposed to
allow the cotton to be sprayed with a herbicide to control weeds
without damaging the cotton, led to lower yields.

Most of those cases were settled privately, bringing the farmers
perhaps $5 million or less, Steve Cox, the lawyer for the farmers,