USDA Raisin Extortion Trial Reaches US Supreme Court


Every year, the U.S.D.A. steals about half the crops of raisin growers and they have been doing this since 1937 when the country was in a deep depression. They don’t pay them a dime.  It’s another theft of property case and extortion is a good word for it.

A group of 30 small farmers got together and sued. After ten years, it’s headed for the Supreme Court.

Raisin farmers Marvin and Laura Horne are trying to stop the federal government from demanding about half their crop each year without “just compensation” in what appears to be a violation of the 5th Amendment.

The USDA dictates that “handlers” of raisins who package crops must hand over a portion of their yield – as I said it’s extortion and not a tax – it’s a seizure and it’s punitive.

Oddly enough, “producers” who grow the raisins get to keep the crops.

In 2000, Horne, who handles and produces, tried to become a producer. After a number of years, the USDA told him he still had to hand over 47% of his raisins.

Horne refused and he has been fined more than $700,000.

The depression era law was meant to keep prices steady. Once the big government gets power over the people, however, they don’t let go. They could rewrite the rules but they won’t.

It’s not just raisin farmers, the outdated law covers about 20 crops including plums, almonds, spearmint.

The USDA says it allows California to “establish and modify handling regulations in order to improve global marketing opportunities for producers and handlers.”

It’s totalitarianism at its finest. Kind of a social engineering for raisins. The big government can’t let the free market work to say nothing about leaving peoples’ personal property personal.

There is no evidence that there is any benefit whatsoever to the raisin market but it does line the government’s pockets.

Opponents of the law believe this is an antiquated system with little to no economic benefit.

“This case presents the important question of whether the federal government can seize ownership, each year, of a large portion of a farmer’s raisin crop without paying the just compensation required by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” Horne’s attorney, Michael McConnell, wrote in a court brief.

It really is a non-partisan issue in the end. The government shouldn’t be taking half of someone’s personal property to satisfy an outdated law and keep the employees of the Raisin Administrative Committee employed.

“They want us to pay for our own raisins that we grew,” says Raisin Valley Farms owner Marvin Horne. “We have to buy them back!”

The Hornes plant the seeds, tie the vines, harvest fruit, place the grapes in trays to create raisins – NOT THE GOVERNMENT!

Some farmers have lost their land and it’s the government that gets it. The big government loves to acquire land in violation of the constitution. Maybe that’s what they want in the end.

Reason TV has been following the case. Their video gives great background information.