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Black farmers sue Bayer over Roundup, want weed-killer taken off market

The farmers want Roundup taken off the market, but Bayer says the lawsuit “has no basis in fact or law"

ST. LOUIS — Black farmers are suing Bayer demanding it takes the weedkiller Roundup off the market.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump filed the lawsuit on behalf of the National Black Farmers' Association. Bayer now owns Monsanto.

The suit claims Monsanto forces farmers to buy more expensive, Roundup-resistant seeds and increasingly larger quantities of the weedkiller every year. They say Black farmers are uniquely affected because they operate smaller farms, and have smaller profit margins.

“They took away the choice from the seed and the variety,” Crump said. “They took all that away and said you have no recourse.”

In June, Bayer agreed to pay up to nearly $11 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits claiming Roundup causes cancer.

In a statement, Bayer said the lawsuit “has no basis in fact or law.” The full statement is as follows:

"Racism has no place in our society or at Bayer. This lawsuit is brought by two law firms that are holdouts in the Roundup product liability litigation and people should see this action for what it is – an attempt by plaintiffs’ lawyers to use media and more litigation to further their own financial interests. There is no basis in fact or law for the health claims in this suit, as Roundup has been assessed and approved by independent health regulators worldwide, including the EPA, which have found that Roundup can be used safely as directed. Farmers have many choices and select the seeds and chemistries that best meet their needs. Competition and choice are alive and well in agriculture and benefit farmers equally."

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