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Ballanger v. Johanns

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20194
Nos. No. 06-3889, (8th Cir., 08/01/2007)

The Eighth Circuit upheld a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ruling that a farmer was ineligible to receive certain USDA benefits because he converted wetlands for agricultural use in violation of the Food Security Act of 1985, commonly referred to as "Swampbuster." The lower court properly determined that it need not address arguments that the farmer failed to present to the agency. To properly exhaust administrative remedies related to a wetlands violation determination by the USDA, a landowner must specifically raise before the agency all of the issues he or she attempts to raise in federal court. In addition, it is undisputed that the farmer removed woody vegetation and subsequently farmed land that had not been shown to be otherwise degraded. Consequently, the lower court did not err in affirming the USDA's decision.