A group of black farmers have filed a class-action lawsuit in Tennessee against Stine Seed Company, claiming the company sold them bad soybean seeds.
According to WMC Action News 5, the African American farmers believed they were duped at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show in March 2017 by a distributor working for Stine Seed Company, who used labeled certified seed backs and tampered with factory sewn seals, in order to remove the certified seeds. The farmers purchased more than $100,000 in soybean seeds as well as an additional $100,000 in chemicals from the distributor.
After seeing yields as low as five bushels, the farmers sent the seeds to Mississippi State University to have them tested where experts confirmed they were not certified Stine seeds and had zero germination.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, alleges breach of contract, racketeering, fraud, and conspiracy, as well as race discrimination. The farmers are asking for a jury trial, with awards for actual and punitive damages.
Stine Seed Company sent this statement Wednesday morning to AGDAILY regarding the lawsuit:
“The lawsuit against Stine Seed Company is without merit and factually unsupportable. Stine takes seriously any allegations of unlawful, improper, or discriminatory conduct and is disturbed by the baseless allegations leveled against the company,” said Myron Stine of Stine Seed Company. “Upon learning of these claims, the company took swift action to conduct an internal investigation, which has not revealed any evidence that would support these allegations. Stine intends to vigorously defend itself against this meritless lawsuit and has filed a motion to dismiss. Our focus is on continuing to serve all our customers with the highest degree of integrity and respect that are the bedrock of our company’s values.”