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Horne v. United States Department of Agriculture

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20244
Nos. No. 10-15270, (9th Cir., 07/25/2011)

The Ninth Circuit held that a reserve program for raisins authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 does not constitute a taking in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The USDA imposed civil penalties against two raisin farmers for failing to comply with various requirements of a raisin marketing order issued under the Act. They appealed, arguing that the reserve program constitutes a physical, per se taking of their personal property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment. But the order applies to the farmers only insofar as they voluntarily choose to send their raisins into the stream of interstate commerce. As such, it is a use restriction, not a direct appropriation. In addition, the order does not deny raisin farmers all economically beneficial use of their raisins, as the regulation does not ban the sale of raisins altogether. It only requires that a certain percentage of raisins prepared for market be delivered to the Raisin Administrative Committee. And the farmers' argument that they have suffered a complete and total taking of their reserve-tonnage raisins is foreclosed by case law. Because the farmers have suffered no compensable physical taking of any portion of their crops, the Fifth Amendment poses no obstacle to the USDA's enforcement of the raisin marketing order against them.