With 1 in 5 jobs in South Dakota being tied to agriculture, there’s no doubting the impact farming has across the state. Not only does agriculture account for well over 100,000 jobs in South Dakota, but farming and related operations have a more than $26 billion annual impact on the state’s economy.
With such a long and deep agricultural tradition, many in the farming and food production community across South Dakota are closely watching a spate of lawsuits that have been filed across the United States against Monsanto, the maker of the popular Roundup weed killer.
Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer AG, are facing nearly 12,000 lawsuits tied to the use of Roundup, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate, a chemical that is suspected of potentially being harmful to human health, including causing cancer. Glyphosate is the most popular weed killer in use in agriculture today, and the situation is no different in South Dakota, where more than 16 million pounds of the herbicide were used for farming in 2016 alone.
For those in South Dakota, whether they’ve worked in agriculture, landscaping or groundskeeping or have used Roundup for non-commercial purposes, it’s important to understand the issues surrounding Roundup and glyphosate as well as South Dakota state law.
Glyphosate Use in South Dakota
According to U.S. Geological Survey data, glyphosate use in agriculture peaked in 2015, when more than 18 million pounds were used in South Dakota. While the rate dropped between 2015 and 2016, the state remains a top 10 user of glyphosate, coming in seventh on the list for 2016 behind the 16.8 million pounds of glyphosate used. Overall, glyphosate use in South Dakota has surged an incredible 6,987 percent since 1992.
South Dakota is one of the top producers of several crops that are common glyphosate-friendly crops, including oats (first), corn (sixth), wheat (sixth) and soybeans (eighth). How does glyphosate use break down by crop in South Dakota?
- Corn: 42%
- Soybeans: 46%
- Wheat: 4%
- All other crops: 8%
The vast majority of the glyphosate used in South Dakota farming operations was used on corn and soybeans across the state, which is understandable given South Dakota’s position as a top 10 producer of both of those crops nationally.
Not only is South Dakota a major agricultural state today, the history of the state is steeped in farming; in fact, more than 2,500 of the state’s farms have been in the same family for 100 years or more.
The deep agricultural roots of South Dakota are a huge point of pride for thousands in the state, but it also means that a huge number of South Dakotans may have been exposed to glyphosate, a potentially dangerous chemical. In addition to those whose jobs are to grow and process food crops, many across the state work as groundskeepers, professional gardeners or landscapers, all jobs where weed killer use is common. In addition, Roundup is the most popular home weed killer, with many people spraying the substance to kill weeds around their yards and properties.
The following graph shows the amount of glyphosate applied countrywide. The state of South Dakota clearly is impacted by it’s agricultural application.
South Dakota Residents at Risk
There’s no doubt that people who have come into regular contact with Roundup or glyphosate on a daily or near-daily basis as part of their jobs should draw the greatest level of concern when potentially considering pursuing legal recourse against Monsanto. But the widespread use of the substance — remember, it’s the single most popular weed killer in the world — means that even those who may have never had direct contact with Roundup or glyphosate could still have come into contact with it.
Multiple rounds of independent testing, even testing conducted by the American government, have shown varying amounts of glyphosate in dozens of food products, from beer and wine to breakfast cereal and snack bars. And because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only began testing for glyphosate in the food supply a couple of years ago, it’s impossible to know how many people in South Dakota and beyond were being exposed to glyphosate for years without knowing it.
Roundup Cancer Lawsuits in South Dakota
Dewayne “Lee” Johnson was a school groundskeeper when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Johnson believes his use of Roundup as part of his job is what gave him the cancer, and in 2018 a California jury agreed with him, awarding the man a $289 million verdict, though that amount was later reduced by a judge. Though the case is currently under appeal, the fact remains that this case has helped open the floodgates against Monsanto and Bayer AG.
A second California trial got underway in February 2019, and Bayer has confirmed that nearly 12,000 cases are pending in which plaintiffs allege that Roundup and glyphosate are dangerous and potentially cancer-causing.
South Dakota residents who personally used Roundup as part of their jobs or who used the weed killer to tend their lawns and later became seriously ill should know their rights. South Dakotans have some of the most consumer-friendly product liability laws in the nation, as the state grants three years from the date of injury to bring a lawsuit, which is one year more than most other states. That means that from the date you are diagnosed with a serious Roundup-related illness, you have 36 months to begin legal action against Monsanto and Bayer.
If either you or a family member regularly used or otherwise were exposed to Roundup and have since been diagnosed with a serious illness. Including any form of cancer, it’s crucial you contact a qualified South Dakota attorney who can help you understand your rights and work with you to plan your next steps.
Roundup and Its Effect on Human Health
While the U.S. government’s official position is that glyphosate probably does not cause cancer in humans, this is far from a settled question. In fact, both the state of California and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have ruled that glyphosate is a human carcinogen. When you add that to the growing body of scientific research that indicates glyphosate and Roundup cause a whole host of health problems, it’s clear to see that this substance is of questionable safety at best.
Medical studies and scientific analysis have linked Roundup and/or glyphosate to serious diseases:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Celiac disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Breast cancer
- Childhood brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
How to File a South Dakota Roundup Lawsuit
If you became seriously ill or were diagnosed with a serious condition after exposure to glyphosate and Roundup, consider contacting a qualified South Dakota attorney today to discuss your health status and your potential legal claim against Monsanto and its parent company, Bayer.
Though South Dakota has consumer-friendly product liability laws, with ever-growing legal chorus against Monsanto, the time is now to ensure that you and your family are able to access justice.
South Dakota Roundup Cancer Lawsuit Lawyers & Attorneys
- Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Website: https://dehs.com/
- Phone number: 605-336-2880
Ribstein & Hogan Law Firm
- Location: Brookings, South Dakota
- Website: https://www.weitzlux.com/contact-us/detroit-mi-attorneys/
- Phone number: 692.1818
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