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Maple Drive Farms Ltd. Partnership v. Vilsack

ELR Citation: 45 ELR 20067
Nos. 13-1091, (6th Cir., 04/01/2015)

The Sixth Circuit held that USDA failed to comply with its own regulations when it determined a farm was ineligible for program benefits under the "Swampbuster" provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985. USDA determined the farm was ineligible for benefits because it converted two acres of wetlands for agricultural use. But in so doing, the agency failed to analyze whether the purported conversion would have only a minimal effect on surrounding wetlands, a finding that would have exempted the farm from ineligibility. USDA argued that it considered the farm's minimal-effect evidence but simply was not persuaded by it. But the government cites nothing in the 1,000-page administrative record to support its claim. The court therefore remanded the matter for further proceedings.