Skip to comments.Raisin farmers in SCOTUS case face $650K charge if they donít give half their crop to the feds
Posted on 01/31/2013 6:54:33 AM PST by SeekAndFind
47 percent of their crop, to be precise. It’s J.J. Abrams’ world. We’re all just living in it.
Luckily, the Supreme Court decided to take the case of the Horne family, so they may end up retaining the right to freely sell the raisin crop they’ve duly produced, but how is it that they must appeal to the highest court in the land for that right? Well, it all started in 1937, as so many good things do, when the federal government began requiring raising farmers to lay aside a
tribute portion of their crops in order to control supply and price.
In this case, the USDA imposed on the Hornes a marketing order demanding that they turn over 47% of their crop without compensation. The ordera much-criticized New Deal relicforces raisin handlers to reserve a certain percentage of their crop for the account of the government-backed Raisin Administrative Committee, enabling the government to control the supply and price of raisins on the market. The RAC then either sells the raisins or simply gives them away to noncompetitive marketssuch as federal agencies, charities, and foreign governmentswith the proceeds going toward the RACs administration costs.
It’s been rough going for the Hornes since they had the audacity to lay claim to their own crops:
Believing that they, as raisin producers, were exempt, the Hornes failed to set aside the requisite tribute during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 growing seasons. The USDA disagreed with the Hornes interpretation of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 and brought an enforcement action, seeking $438,843.53 (the approximate market value of the raisins that the Hornes allegedly owe), $202,600 in civil penalties, and $8,783.39 in unpaid assessments. After losing in that administrative review, the Hornes brought their case to federal court, arguing that the marketing order and associated fines violated the Fifth Amendments Takings Clause.
After litigating the matter in both district and appellate court, the governmentfor the first timealleged that the Hornes takings claim would not be ripe for judicial review until after the Hornes terminated the present dispute, paid the money owed, and then filed a separate suit in the Court of Federal Claims.
The Hornes and others think the “marketing order” is a relic that solves a problem that doesn’t exist:
These programs were created in a different era, said Steffen Johnson, a lawyer who wrote a brief in support of some dissident raisin farmers, and frankly, it was an era when farmers didnt have access to international markets.
On the other side of the argument are the federal government, and some other raisin growers. I’m guessing those who aren’t as good as the Hornes at growing raisins.
In a brief defending the department, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote that the farmers identify no reason why the imposition of a civil penalty and other assessments for noncompliance with a regulatory scheme constitutes a taking of property without just compensation.
Many growers, moreover, support the marketing order as good for the raisin industry, which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted last year has long been an important one in California.
Here to help. Oral arguments are March 20.
That governmental attitude describes in a nutshell a lot of what is wrong in this country. Obscure regulations, written in the dark to implement unclear laws that few legislators have read or thought about, sporadically and arbitrarily enforced by faceless, unelected bureuacrats, enable precisely the sort of takings the Founders sought to prevent.
This has 2nd Amendment response required written all over it but just like every other time the government has exceeded their limited authority the sheep will just go on eating what little is left for them.
It’s crazier than that. I’d never heard of this, but it sounds as if the government can create set-asides in any sort of product it wants, not just raisins. Corn, beef, wheat, soy—you name it—in the name of regulating markets for “fair” prices. That means a farmer has to pay a production tax in kind, and then, if he still manages to make money on the remaining goods, he pays income tax too!
The difference between a serf and a slave is that a slave knows he’s a slave.
Don’t get too excited.
Roberts will call it a “tax” even though it’s not in the statute, and uphold it. He can even cut and paste some of the decision.
yes, we must set aside Grain Silos for the gods.
I’d like to know what the RAC employees’ salaries are.
If they lose and have to give 47% to the Fed, leave that portion in the field and tell them to pick it themselves.
This “law” is so wrong.
Burn the fields so they can't have it even if they're willing to harvest.
Really! So, if I get this straight, the gov’t confiscates their crop, then sells it and use the proceeds to pay the people that confiscate it. What a deal.
RE: If they lose and have to give 47% to the Fed, leave that portion in the field and tell them to pick it themselves.
This law is so wrong.
Reminds me of what happened in Zimbabwe about 8 years ago.
46.5% of the country’s arable land was owned by around 6,000 commercial farmers, and white farmers, who made up less than 1% of the population, owned 70% of the best farming land.
In 2005, Parliament, dominated by Zanu-PF (led by Robert Mugabe), passed a constitutional amendment, signed into law on September 12, 2005, that nationalised farmland acquired through the “Fast Track” process and deprived original landowners of the right to challenge in court the government’s decision to expropriate their land.
In January 2006, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said Zimbabwe was considering legislation that would compel commercial banks to finance black peasants who had been allocated formerly white-owned farmland in the land reforms. Made warned that banks failing to lend a substantial portion of their income to these farmers would have their licenses withdrawn.
The newly resettled peasants had largely failed to secure loans from commercial banks because they did not have title over the land on which they were resettled, and thus could not use it as collateral. With no security of tenure on the farms, banks have been reluctant to extend loans to the new farmers, many of whom do not have much experience in commercial farming, nor assets to provide alternative collateral for any borrowed money.
Before 2000 land-owning farmers had large tracts of land and utilized economies of scale to raise capital, borrow money when necessary, and purchase modern mechanized farm equipment to increase productivity on their land. As the primary beneficiaries of the land reform were members of the Government and their families, despite the fact that most had no experience in running a farm, the drop in total farm output has been tremendous and has even produced starvation and famine, according to aid agencies.
Mostly crops for export have suffered severely, e.g. Zimbabwe was the world’s 6th largest producers of Tobacco in 2001.
It produces nowadays less than 1/3 of the amount produced in 2000, the lowest amount in 50 years. Zimbabwe was once so rich in agricultural produce that it was dubbed the “bread basket” of Southern Africa, while it is now struggling to feed its own population.
About 45 percent of the population is now considered malnourished.
Reply to myself. Reminds me of when I read aboout a Doctor in CA saying that he had been cut to $12 a visit so he was losing money, but he understood the budget problems in CA. I wrote him and told him that he had to be cut because the social services (union) people that signed people up for his services had to have higher pay, free insurance and big retirements, and that’s why he had to take a cut.
That is baically the same gig, getting paid to take from the producers.
That is the ONLY reason for Regulation of a Free Market, and the bullshit stories/talking points about "protecting consumers", "helping the middle class", helping "the poor, hungry, elderly, and chil'ren" are all smokescreens and PR stunts.
Spending to buy votes and remain employed is the lifetime goal of ALL politicians.....
That was when “Zimbabwe” was known as Rhodesia and the white farmers knew how to utiluze modern farming techiques to squeese the food outa of the land.
As the old saying goes
“Africa always wins”
See also the Ukraine during the Stalin era.
See America in about thirty years....
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