A Kansas, USA, court has awarded US$217.7M in compensation to farmers who claimed to have been damaged by Swiss seed firm Syngenta introducing a new corn strain to the market.

According to the plaintiffs, Syngenta had brought the Agrisure Viptera strain to the market prematurely, without first securing approvals from all export markets, the FeedNavigator wrote on 24 June.

Syngenta had secured an approval in the USA while China had rejected the corn, which was alleged to have hurt the market for US producers.

The case was the first of eight state class action lawsuits against Syngenta regarding its genetically engineered corn varieties.

“The verdict is great news for corn farmers in Kansas and corn growers through the country who were seriously hurt by Syngenta’s actions,” the plaintiff group told FeedNavigator.

“This is only the beginning. We look forward to pursuing justice for thousands more corn farmers in the months ahead.”

Syngenta called the court decision “disappointing” and was planning to appeal it.

“The case is without merit and we will move forward with an appeal and continue to defend the rights of American farmers to access safe and effective US approved technologies,” the company said.

Syngenta claimed that its commercialisation of the Agrisure Viptera strain complied with US legal requirements and regulations.

The Swiss firm is in the process of finalising its US$43bn merger with China’s ChemChina.