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March 13, 2018JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. |  By: AP

Syngenta agrees to $1.5 billion lawsuit settlement

A Swiss agribusiness giant has agreed to a $1.5 billion settlement in a lawsuit over genetically modified corn seed variety. Officials for Syngenta and attorneys for thousands of farmers, ethanol plants and other grain handlers announced the settlement yesterday of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuits were filed after Syngenta introduced its Viptera seed strain to the U.S. market before it was approved by China for imports. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that Syngenta's decision cost U.S. corn producers and handlers access to the Chinese corn market for years. Syngenta began selling Viptera in the U.S. for the 2011 growing season but China didn't approve it until 2014. The settlement covers all U.S. producers who sold corn priced after September 2013.

A federal judge still must approve the settlement.