MAY 17, 2005 - Posted at 10:42 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A U.S. District Judge has ordered 25 northeast Arkansas farmers to pay international chemical design giant BASF $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit.
Dutch-based BASF sued the farmers for violating the company's patent on Clearfield rice, a special rice that works in tandem with a BASF herbicide to ward off the red rice weed.
The BASF patent requires farmers to prevent cross-pollination of the Clearfield white rice with the red rice weed, so the rice won't become resistent to the herbicide.
The court also ordered the farmers to grow soybeans on the fields they had used for Clearfield rice the last two seasons.
The lawsuit was filed in September 2004 against farmers and farm-related businesses in Bono, Walnut Ridge and Pocahontas.