Federal judge orders settlement talks in soybean seed suit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A judge is ordering settlement talks in a lawsuit filed by black farmers from Mississippi and Tennessee who claim a company sold them faulty soybean seeds because of their race.

U.S. District Judge John Fowlkes told the farmers and Stine Seed Co. to begin mediation in a lawsuit alleging the company conspired with a seed salesman to sell thousands of dollars’ worth of defective seeds to the farmers because they are black.

Fowlkes on Thursday set a March 15 deadline for a settlement.

The suit claims the good seeds the farmers thought they had bought from Stine were replaced by inferior seeds before delivery. The farmers claim they were given the bad seeds because of “racial animus” against them.

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Stine and salesman Kevin Cooper call the accusations baseless and irresponsible.

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