Memphis Black Farmers Claim Racism in Lawsuit Against Billion Dollar Seed Company for Selling Them Bad Seed

Black farmers bought upwards $100,000 worth of soybean seed back at the annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show held in Memphis, from Stine Seed Company because the product has a reputation for high crop yield. Instead, they yielded about 10 percent of what white farmers did for the season, effectively accelerating their demise and putting them out of business, according to Thomas Burrell, President of the Black Farmers and Agriculturists Association (BFAA).

A class action suit filed against Stine Seed, the largest genetic seed trait manufacturer in the world, has prompted state legislators to get involved in what some are calling a multimillion dollar scheme to put Black farmers out of business and take their land.

Son of a billionaire CEO Harry Stine, President Myron Stine, of all-white-male led Iowa-based Stine Seed Company, responded to the suit Tuesday, saying in part: “The lawsuit against Stine Seed Company is without merit and factually unsupportable … Stine intends to vigorously defend itself against this meritless lawsuit and has filed a motion to dismiss.”

Tennessee Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) vowed state government would investigate “issues which have negatively impacted our Black farmers.”

Burrell said, historically, 16 million acres were owned by Blacks who intended to farm. Now the remaining ones are facing what he calls a “land grab.”

“All we have to do is look… 80 years ago you had a million black farmers, today you have less than 5,000,” he said.

After experiencing financial losses in the millions, the Black farmers had the seed scientifically tested by Mississippi State University. The samples showed rotten molded seed. The lawsuit claims the certified seeds were switched for inferior ones at a Mississippi warehouse.

“These seeds now have become weaponized,” said Burrell.

The BFAA has also represented Black farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a class action suit claiming systemic racist practices, where almost 16,000 farmers won a total settlement of $1.06 billion by 2011, and are still slated to collect $1.2 billion from Congress in a second wave of settlements.

The BFAA plans to ask the FBI and Homeland Security to investigate as well.

Latest News

AIG Insurance Careers Month

In honor of the 5th Annual Insurance Career’s Month, AIG is proudly showcasing its dedicated employees. Throughout the month of February, several “Up Close” features have been created following the 2020 themes of philanthropy, diversity and inclusion and insurance as a purpose-driven industry. Priya Kumar from the Investments team shares her…

Accenture Technology Vision 2020: From Tech-Clash to Trust, the Focus Must Be on People

Originally posted on To compete and succeed in a world where digital is everywhere, companies need a new focus on balancing “value” with “values,” aligning their drive to create business value with their customers’ and employees’ values and expectations, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2020. The 20th edition of Accenture’s…


TIAA: Howard University Event Focused on Solving Financial Challenges, Building Economic Strength of African American Community

Originally published on TIAA and AARP sponsored event featured industry experts, including CBS National News Correspondent, Michelle Miller. On January 31, Howard University convened an important event focused on enhancing the economic strength and financial wellness of African Americans. The event, sponsored by TIAA and AARP, brought together industry…

How Toyota Encourages the Youth of America

Originally published on Shannyn Baumgartner, a credit supervisor at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), relished her time volunteering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, participating in holiday dinners and collecting back-to-school donations. But when she became a judge for the Clubs’ Youth of the Year Award in 2017,…

AT&T Climate Resiliency Community Challenge

Originally posted on AT&T Supports Research at Five Universities to Assess Climate Risks and Help Boost Community Resilience  As part of our Climate Resiliency Community Challenge, five universities have been selected to conduct research that will help communities in the southeastern United States build resilience to climate change. Each academic…