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Swede/Rape Seed Payments Begin - Wrightson Ltd

WRIGHTSON LTD

Friday 28 July 2000

Media Release

For Immediate Release

Swede/Rape Seed Payments Begin

Payments have begun for farmers who have experienced some level of rape in swede crops with Wrightson this week sending out cheques to the first 120 farmers.

General Manager International Barry Brook, responsible for the Wrightson seed business, made the announcement just three weeks after the first compensation claims forms were sent to farmers.

He said Wrightson had aimed to make the payments as quickly as it could. This had been possible largely because of the ongoing cooperation Wrightson was receiving from farmers.

“The first 120 payments cover a wide-range of claims. A further 120 claims are being processed, and more are coming in daily.”

Mr Brook said he was very pleased with the response to-date. Within 3 weeks approximately 25% of all farmers affected have already lodged claims or accepted offers.

“Some farmers were happy to have their claim settled quickly, whereas others were wanting to take more time.”

Mr Brook said that Wrightson would work speedily to process claims, but he encouraged farmers to take the time they need to assess the effect of the rape before lodging claims. He said the company was very aware of the pressures farmers had faced as a result of the rape seed effect. Wrightson was happy to spend time working through any issues farmers had with the compensation process.

Wrightson had sent out compensation claim forms to all affected farmers. It had made direct compensation offers to farmers who had experienced only modest levels of rape in their seed to make the process as easy as possible for them. However in all cases farmers were welcome to submit compensation claims.

In February Wrightson discovered a line of the company’s Major Plus swede seed had been inadvertently sold containing some Maxima Plus rape seed. Most of the 1,000 farmers that had received the mixed seed line were in Otago and Southland, although a few dozen farms in the North Island were also involved.

In the middle of June, Wrightson Chief Executive Allan Freeth visited some of the affected farms. At that time he confirmed that the company would compensate for the fair and reasonable costs incurred by farmers from having to manage the effect of rape in their crops.

Mr Brook encouraged any farmers who were uncertain about any aspects of the claims procedures to contact the Wrightson Crop Management Help Line on 0800-66-55-25.

ENDS

For further information, please contact: Mark Thomas 021-417-416

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