Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

July 24, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Curran Says Binding Contract Spells Out How Farmers Can Be Compensated

Baltimore - Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran announced today that Aventis CropScience, the maker of StarLink genetically modified corn that entered the grain and food chains, has reached a supplemental contractual agreement with 17 State Attorneys General acting on behalf of additional growers who may suffer losses as a result of StarLink corn.

The supplemental agreement focuses on growers who have found StarLink "Cry9C" corn in their inventories despite the fact that they had not purchased StarLink-brand seed or grown corn within 660 feet of corn grown from StarLink seed. Such "StarLink growers" and "buffer growers" are eligible for various kinds of compensation under an agreement that Curran and the other State Attorneys General reached with Aventis on January 23 of this year.

Curran also said that Aventis has agreed to grant a one-time-only extension of the September 1 deadline to growers that need more time to feed their StarLink corn to livestock on their own farms.

"These are good developments for Maryland farmers," Curran said. "I think Aventis is working hard to correct the situation and make it right for farmers and elevators. They have mobilized to get the corn out of the grain chain and set up procedures and terms to pay producers and elevators whose grain may have lost value because of StarLink corn."

Aventis has paid millions of dollars to farmers and elevators to date.

The supplemental agreement covers two kinds of growers eligible for benefits: those who have confirmed with their seed dealer that the seed they purchased inadvertently contained Cry9C, and those who donít have such confirmation from their seed dealer but provide other evidence that their corn contains Cry9C StarLink protein.

Growers with written confirmation that the seed contained Cry9C are eligible for the following benefits under Aventisís "StarLink Enhanced Stewardship" or SES program: 25 cents for each bushel of non-StarLink corn containing Cry9C; 25 cents for each bushel of buffer corn grown within 660 feet of such non-StarLink corn containing Cry9C; five cents per bushel of commingled corn if fed on the farm, or 10 cents per bushel if marketed to a StarLink Logistics approved destination. Such growers also can be reimbursed for excess cost of transportation or storage or other verifiable loss of value exceeding benefits available under Aventisís SES StarLink program.

Growers without confirmation from a seed dealer may demonstrate eligibility in several ways: load-by-load testing as each load is delivered; or, on-farm testing by an Aventis representative; or, on-farm testing by the farmer with Aventis prior approval. Aventis pays testing costs.

Growers who qualify are eligible for benefits as follows: all corn testing positive is classified as "commingled" corn; growers may be paid five cents per bushel if the corn is fed to livestock on the farm, or 10 cents if it is marketed to a StarLink Logistics approved destination. Growers also can be reimbursed for excess cost of transportation or storage or other verifiable loss of value.

For details on these terms -- or for information on extending the September 1 deadline -- Curran encourages farmers to contact Aventis or go to Aventisís web site:

"This is another good step forward in tackling this situation," Curran said. "We will continue to work with Aventis on details of implementing the agreement, and our discussions will continue as other StarLink corn issues arise."

The supplemental agreement was signed by the states and Aventis CropScience USA LP, based in Research Triangle Park, NC. States that signed the agreement are Iowa, Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The States encompass over 90 percent of the acreage planted to StarLink corn last year.

The States did not release any potential claims or causes of action as a result of their agreements with Aventis, in case other issues arise that are not covered by the agreement. He also said the agreement does not affect any claims that have been made or could be made by growers or elevators who choose to proceed with legal action or claims.