RiceTec, the Texas-based producer of hybrid seeds, has been facing a lawsuit in an Arkansas court from farmers who claim that the seed did not produce promised yields. Now the suit has been joined by several Texas and Louisiana rice farmers.
The case started when RiceTec sued an Arkansas farmer for nonpayment. The grower had purchased RiceTec’s hybrid long-grain rice seed. The farmer countersued, claiming that the hybrid seeds were defective and did not mill properly. He also claimed that the seeds failed to produce promised yields.
With seven Texas farmers and 11 from Louisiana joining the suit, there are now 51 plaintiffs. RiceTec, based in Alvin, Texas, is the country’s largest producer of rice seed and has been selling the seed for more than 20 years. RiceTec said the claims in the lawsuit are false and that it would provide a vigorous defense.
The lawsuit claims that the rice seed is of inferior quality in that it fails to produce enough bran surrounding the kernel and also chips easily, making it more difficult to cook. The farmers say that the low quality of their yields has hurt prices and is significant enough to affect exports.