Attorneys in Engineered Rice Lawsuit Urge Northeast Arkansas Farmers to Take Action

SEPTEMBER 7, 2006 - Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Attorneys representing about 20 rice growers in Lonoke County who sued Bayer CropScience LP over its genetically engineered rice urged other farmers to join in the litigation.

Attorney Paul Byrd told a group of farmers in Jonesboro that they're financially affected by the U.S. government's announcement that genetically modified rice has been found in Arkansas.

Byrd represents the farmers who filed suit in Lonoke County Circuit Court; three other federal class-action cases have also been filed against Bayer.

The government announced August 18 that the genetically engineered rice had been found in U.S. rice long-grain rice supplies.  After the announcement, the futures price of rice dropped, and several lawsuits were filed against Bayer CropScience and Stuttgart-based Riceland Foods, Inc.

The lawsuits center on a strain of rice known as L-L-RICE-601, a rice that was tested by Bayer between 1998 and 2001.  That strain contains a gene that makes the rice resistant to the herbicide Liberty.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)