Missouri Minute: Peach farmer awarded $265 million in dicamba suit; Boeing to extend union contract

Good morning, MBA readers,

A jury awarded a southeast Missouri peach farmer $265 million in damages over the weekend in a lawsuit against Bayer and BASF that is expected to encourage other similar suits against the agricultural giants. Bill Bader, owner of Bader Peach Farms in Campbell, sued the companies, claiming thousands of trees on his farm were damaged by the drift of dicamba-based herbicides produced by Bayer and BASF. The companies plan to appeal the verdict, but it’s viewed as a bellwether for dozens of suits alleging damage to tens of thousands of acres of cropland in Missouri and neighboring states. Elsewhere, a business owner and rancher from southwest Missouri has announced he will challenge Gov. Mike Parson for the Republican nomination for governor, and a pair of Kansas City organizations are launching new training programs for entrepreneurs in the city. Read on for those stories and the rest of the day’s top business news.


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Missouri peach farmer awarded $265 million from Bayer, BASF
A jury in Cape Girardeau has handed Bill Bader, the state’s largest peach farmer, a total of $265 million in damages against Bayer and BASF. Bader argued that the companies’ herbicides, which had drifted from nearby farms, caused irreparable harm to his 1,000-acre orchard. Bayer, which anticipates 140 similar cases headed to U.S. courts this year, plans to appeal. (Reuters)

Boeing to extend engineers’ union labor contract
The aerospace and defense company has agreed to a tentative deal extending labor contracts for about 18,000 employees by another four years. The new agreement would establish fixed salary adjustment funds and raise the eligible earnings for an employee incentive plan to 5%. (Reuters)

Glik’s to relocate St. Louis headquarters
The national clothing retailer plans to relocate its longtime Granite City headquarters to Collinsville, Illinois. The move comes after the Collinsville City Council approved several tax incentives for the company’s new 40,000-square-foot office and e-commerce warehouse space. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Clayton-based chemical maker plans new Texas hub
Olin Corp. will open its new Technology and Administration Center in Lake Jackson, Texas, later this year. The company will relocate more than 200 local employees to the new 62,500-square-foot facility, which will serve as its new base of Texas operations. (Houston Business Journal)

Agency creates 350-acre renewal plan in southeast KC
The Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City has created a 350-acre redevelopment plan in the southeast portion of the city with the support of the City Council. The process was driven largely by the Marlborough Community Coalition, and did not involve outside developers. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Springfield group buys Ballparks of America in Branson
A partnership of four Springfield businessmen has purchased the $20 million Ballparks of America in Branson for an undisclosed price. According to a news release, the baseball complex has booked teams from over 25 states and other countries for summer tournaments there. (Springfield Business Journal)

FAA awards $3.7 million grant for Springfield-Branson airport
The Springfield-Branson National Airport has been awarded a $3.7 million federal grant to help pay for reconstruction of a taxiway and repairs for a runway. Construction is slated to start later this year, and flight traffic is not expected to be affected. (Springfield Business Journal)

Columbia bank to change name as it completes merger
Columbia-based Landmark Bank on Tuesday will adopt the Simmons First National Corp. name and banking system as the two banks complete their merger. (Columbia Missourian)

Seneca businessman challenges Parson for governor
Raleigh Ritter, a business owner and rancher from Seneca, announced Saturday he will be challenging Gov. Mike Parson for the Republican nomination for governor in 2020. Ritter is expected to make economic development and agriculture the main focuses of his candidacy. (Columbia Missourian)

KC group launching incubator to boost urban entrepreneurs
The Porter House KC, an organization focused on supporting entrepreneurs in urban Kansas City, is scheduled to open a new coworking studio and retail-focused business incubator by the end of March. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC library system launches training for culinary entrepreneurs
Mid-Continent Public Library has launched the Food Manufacturing School, a 10-week training program targeting entrepreneurs in the food manufacturing sector. The weekly program covers a variety of topics, including safety and regulations, marketing, finance and supply chain. (Kansas City Business Journal)


Say that again

“This hurts us. We’re committed to helping St. Alexius, but our business is not a charity, and we are not a bank.”

That’s Ted Wright, president and owner of Alban Scientific, a medical supply company in St. Louis. Wright says his company is still owed $30,000 by the troubled St. Alexius Hospital, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Wright is not alone: At least six other businesses have sued St. Alexius and its owner, claiming they are collectively owed nearly $800,000 for services and supplies to the hospital. An inspector in June found that the 190-bed facility ran 117 delinquent accounts with vendors. St. Alexius and its owner Americore Health filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December.


Go figure

21%

That’s about how much shares of Caleres dropped between the close of markets Thursday and the end of trading Friday, to $14.27 a share. The decline came after the Clayton-based footwear company posted its preliminary fourth-quarter results, the St. Louis business Journal reports. Caleres reported $700 million in net sales for the quarter ended Feb. 1, down 3% from the previous quarter. CEO Diane Sullivan blamed the drop on “disappointing” holiday sales by retail partners and difficulties for the company’s discount channels. Still, Caleres was boosted by a 5.1% surge in same-store sales at retail subsidiary Famous Footwear. Caleres also said it completed a voluntary early retirement program and other restructuring actions that will result in $8 million to $10 million in annual savings.


Hello, my name is

Native Pet

This St. Louis-based pet food startup is one of seven companies selected to take part in Leap Venture Studio’s 12-week global startup accelerator, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The Los Angeles-based program awards participants with a $200,000 investment, which brings Native Pet’s total funding to date to $800,000. The company, which sells organic pet supplements and treats, has its main office in the St. Louis Cortex district. Co-founders Dan Schaefer and Pat Barron said they plan to use the funding to grow their team, expand product development and bolster online sales. The company says it has served over 20,000 customers and recorded $1 million in total sales since its founding in 2017.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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