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Farm Press Release

For immediate release - Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001.
Contact Bob Brammer, 515-281-6699.

Miller: Aventis is Making Progress Helping Farmers and Elevators Deal with StarLink Corn

Maker of StarLink has posted web sites with details on paying claims. Miller says more details must be worked out, and agreements should be formalized.

Attorney General Tom Miller said Thursday that Aventis CropScience - the maker of StarLink genetically modified corn that has gotten into the grain and food distribution systems -- has posted detailed claims procedures on the "web" for farmers and elevators who may suffer losses as a result of price discounting of their StarLink or StarLink-commingled corn.

"Aventis CropScience acknowledges the hardship caused by the StarLink matter," the company says at the introduction to the web site -- www.StarLinkcorn.com.

"It's very good that Aventis has posted terms and procedures on the web site for paying claims to farmers and elevators with losses resulting from StarLink," Miller said. "This is an important step. It indicates Aventis is willing to accept responsibility for its decision to market StarLink corn," he said.

"However, this is far from the end of the matter. We will continue to work with Aventis both to resolve several important issues that remain and to formalize the claims payment procedures," Miller said. Miller leads a group of about sixteen State Attorneys General working on StarLink issues.

Aventis recently posted claims payment procedures for grain elevators and StarLink growers and "buffer growers" who suffer losses. Aventis also is expected to post very soon a claims procedure for holders of corn that somehow was contaminated with StarLink even though it was neither StarLink corn nor buffer corn.

"We encourage farmers and elevators to consult the Aventis web pages and to gather necessary information for claims if they haven't done so already," Miller said.

Aventis' web site postings are the culmination of several months of discussions between Aventis and the group of State Attorneys General who mostly are from states where StarLink corn was grown. On November 14, 2000, Miller led the group in writing to Aventis to confirm in writing assurances that Aventis had made to the States about its willingness to pay certain losses incurred by growers and elevators due to StarLink corn. The Attorneys General also urged Aventis to establish detailed claims-handling procedures, to post the procedures on its web site, and to pay claims as quickly as possible. Discussions between the States and Aventis have continued in recent weeks.

"We expect to finalize and formalize another round of details with Aventis very soon," Miller said. "We continue to make progress toward the goal of reducing the damage caused by StarLink corn getting into the grain distribution and food chains."

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