A Sweet Decision Benefits Farmers

Safe harvest

Due to a lack of standing, a recent sugarcane personal injury lawsuit has been dismissed.  A group of three plaintiffs, consisting of one resident of Clewiston, FL and two residents of Belle Glade, FL, are afforded the opportunity to refile a second amended complaint against the sugarcane farming companies.  The filing must be completed by May 22, and one stipulation from the judge dictates that only three of the original seven accusations may be included in the new complaint.

The seven companies mentioned in the original filing include Sugarland Harvesting Co., United States Sugar Corporation, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, J&J AG Products Inc., Independent Harvesting Inc., Trucane Sugar Corporation, and King Ranch Inc.  All seven are denying any wrongdoing in placing the lives of communities and residents at risk.  The pre-harvest farming technique in question revolves around the burning of the sugarcane leaves.  Farmers contend that this method is concentrated to a 40 to 80-acre patch of farm at a time. The burning is overseen by the Florida Forest Service.  In addition, the quality of the air is regulated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  No concerns have been raised by any agricultural agency or department.

Despite the seemingly cautious monitoring of the burning process, the three plaintiffs are adamant that they have experienced complications to their health as a result of the smoke.  While the plaintiffs may not be pleased with the burning and the potential risk factor, the courts are left unmoved by any blatant evidence of personal injury.  As far as the Right to Farm Act goes, these sugarcane farmers are not practicing methods out of the scope of the Act guidelines.  Farmers maintain that they have always and will continue to farm their crops in a capacity that ensures safety of the environment and the people living in the homes surrounding the farms in Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee, Clewiston and Moore Haven.