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ACGA urges corn growers to check non-StarLink litigation website

Editor's note: Please see the end of this release for links to a few other CropChoice stories, as well as one reader's response to David Dechant's piece on biopharming earlier this week. --RS.

(Friday, March 7, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The following is from an ACGA news release.

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2003-"The American Corn Growers Association (ACGA) is drawing the attention of the nation's corn producers to a website that explain the steps that corn growers need to take if they want to be part of the class action settlement related to the negative market impact of StarLink corn," reports Larry Mitchell, CEO of the ACGA. "According to the SUMMARY SETTLEMENT NOTICE posted at www.non-starlinkfarmerssettlement.com 'Corn Loss Proof of Claim' forms must be postmarked NO LATER THAN May 31, 2003 and Property Damage Proof of Claim forms must be postmarked NO LATER THAN July 31, 2003."

According to the website, "This Settlement covers farmers and other persons (individuals, partnerships and corporations) with a financial interest in non-StarLink corn harvested between 1998 and the present. You may be covered by the Settlement if one of the following describes you:

(1) you operated a farm from which non-StarLink corn was harvested in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 or 2002, whether or not your corn stores suffered actual Cry9C contamination;
or (2) you operated a farm from which non-StarLink corn was harvested at any time since 1998 and suffered actual Cry9C contamination of your crops or corn stores."

"There are numerous other important legal matters related to this issue and we urge all U.S. corn growers to go to this website to be sure that they understand their rights as part of the class impacted by StarLink," said Mitchell. "The ACGA emphasizes that we are not attempting to give legal advice by bringing this situation to the attention of our members and all U.S. corn growers, but we want to be sure that farmers are well aware of this situation."

"The ACGA responded immediately when the StarLink situation developed in the fall of 1999 and called on the U.S. government agencies involved to hold Aventis accountable for the economic damage done to America's corn growers as result of the lower corn prices farmers received from lost corn exports and the cumulative price-depressing increase in U.S. corn inventories since that time," said Dan McGuire, ACGA Policy Chairman and director of the corn growers Farmer Choice - Customer First information program on genetically modified (GMO) crops.

"We have estimated and tracked losses in the export market resulting from GMO corn varieties and it's good to see that progress is being made through this $110 million settlement and we emphasize that farmers or their attorneys need to check the website http://www.non-starlinkfarmerssettlement.com to determine what steps they should take in this matter, including obtaining the PROOF OF CLAIM FORMS if they so choose. Producers should read the information very carefully. ACGA dose not make any recommendations on this issue, but believes it is in the interest of all corn farmers to review this important matter. Pay close attention to the deadlines."

The American Corn Growers Association represents 14,000 members in 35 states. See http://www.acga.org.

. A reader responded to David Dechant's piece on pharmaceutical corn (http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=1451) with the observation of the British Beekeepers Association that bees often collect corn pollen, though it is not their normal food source, and fly up to three miles either side of the hive. That means they could transport transgenic corn pollen up to six miles.

-release ends-

Other CropChoice news and commentary:

1. Wind energy: A renewable crop to 'power up' rural America; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=1472

2. India's leaders bow to biotech business pressure, put consumers, farmers, agro-ecology at risk; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=1442

3. War of the 'stinking roses'; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?RecID=1470