A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of The National Black Farmers Association seeks an injunction that would either require Monsanto (owned by Bayer AG) to stop selling Roundup Weed & Grass Killer or else “substantially change its behavior so that Black farmers are adequately warned about and protected from the potential fatal results of using Roundup….”
The lawsuit alleges that a large percentage of the Association’s members have been exposed to and potentially injured by Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate.
Only one organization, the The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organization, has established a link between glyphosate and cancer. However, there have been more than 100,000 Roundup lawsuits filed. Several municipalities in the United States have banned Roundup, however, the product is still readily available in stores.
The Monsanto Corporation, which created both the chemical, glyphosate, and Roundup, bought out conventional seed sellers, forcing Black farmers to use “Roundup Ready” seeds as the only option, the lawsuit claims. And with the Roundup Ready seeds the only option available to them, Black farmers have had to also purchase Roundup herbicide, exposing them to a potentially carcinogenic ingredient.
Representatives from the Association, including its founder, John W. Boyd, Jr. a fourth-generation black farmer, held a press conference outside Bayer’s Global Seeds Headquarters near St. Louis, at times, chanting, “Black Farmers Matter.”
The Association has a member of over 100,000 across 42 states. Despite the $11 billion Bayer has set aside for the bulk of the Roundup lawsuits, the Black Farmers Association maintains that thus far, members of its organization have been left out from the settlements.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of police-shooting victims Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, is handling the litigation.
In a statement, Bayer responded to the lawsuit, citing research that shows incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is lower in black farmers than that of white farmers. Bayer added that the notion that black farmers were treated any differently is false. The company also accuses plaintiff’s attorneys of furthering their own financial interest.