Pork farmer sues semen merchant for decreased productivity

Ann Knef Feb. 7, 2008, 6:00am

A Columbia, Ill. pork farm claims its productivity has substantially declined since the fourth quarter of 2004 due to bacteria contained in supplies of boar semen.

Stumpf Pork Inc. filed suit in federal court Feb. 5 claiming Minnesota-based Genetiporc U.S.A., Inc. breached contract by supplying semen that contained a bacteria and/or other abnormalities which decreased farrowing rates.

Stumpf also claims the allegedly defective semen increased non-productive sow days, decreased pregnancy rates and decreased the overall health of Stumpf Pork's herd.

"This resulted in a substantial decrease in the pork productivity of Stumpf Pork during the fourth quarter of 2004 and subsequent years," the complaint states.

Stumpf claims that it notified defendant, but Genetiporc advised that the problems were unrelated to the boar semen. Stumpf claims it then attempted to identify the source of the problem.

"These efforts included re-inseminating the sows and gilts, buying replacement animals and selling the under-producing/non-productive sows and gilts at below market value," the complaint states.

"When these efforts did not identify the problem, Stumpf Pork engaged veterinary consultants to analyze the cause of these problems. The veterinary consultants concluded these problems were caused by a bacteria that was contained in the boar semen supplied by the boars owned by or in which Genetiporc had an interest."

The five-count suit seeks in excess of $375,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages for willful and wanton conduct "because Genetiporc knew that there was a high degree of probability that the defective semen would cause damage to Stumpf Pork."

A claim of negligence alleges the defendant was aware that the semen was defective "and had informed other third parties of its defectiveness."

"Based upon these representations, Stumpf Pork incurred numerous expenses in an attempt to identify the source of the problem even though Genetiporc was aware of the source of the problem," the complaint states.

Stumpf Pork is represented by David T. Butsch, Matthew R. Fields and Nathan E. Ross of Green Jacobson & Butsch in Clayton, Mo.

The firm also filed suit on behalf of a Belleville pork-producer, Porco, Inc.

Porco makes similar claims in a separate suit filed the same day in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

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