Court of Appeals Agrees USDA Did Not Have the Discretion to Implement New Program Benefiting Farmers

Combine dumping wheat into grain cart pulled by tractor in wheat field in Colorado. Image by Shannon Dizmang.

The article is not a substitute for legal advice.

            Many are paying attention to the implementation of the new Farm Bill, looking at how changes to existing and new programs will operate.  One issue that may come up after passing the 2018 Farm Bill is how quickly USDA must implement program changes or new programs.  In Ausmus v. Perdue, a group of Colorado wheat farmers recently had a lower court decision upheld.  The farmers had requested a new crop insurance product authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill before USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) implemented a product for wheat.  The lower court ruled and the court of appeals agreed that although it might conflict with the agency’s other duties under federal law, RMA had to allow producers to use the program after the effective date of the 2014 Farm Bill and not when RMA implemented the regulations. 

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USDA Did Not Have the Discretion to Implement New Program That Benefited Farmers: When Does The Agency Have Discretion to Implement a New Program?

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Combine unloading wheat into a semi truck in a harvested field.  Photo by Shannon Dizmag via flickr.com

The article is not a substitute for legal advice. 

Many of us are paying attention to the debate over the new Farm Bill and looking at how changes to existing programs and potential new programs. One issue that may come up after passing a new Farm Bill is how quickly USDA must implement the program changes or new programs. In Ausmus v. Perdue, a group of Colorado wheat farmers recently won after selecting to utilize a new crop insurance product before USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) had implemented the product for wheat. The court ruled that although it might conflict with other duties had under federal law, RMA had to allow producers the ability to use the program after the effective date of the 2014 Farm Bill and not when RMA had implemented the regulations. Continue reading

Gleaning Unharvested Crops and Crop Insurance or NAP Coverage

 

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Student farm at Penn State.  Image is by Penn State University

 

During the growing season, producers may allow various nonprofits to come on the farm and collect unharvested crops after harvesting. In many cases, it may be not economically profitable to harvest this unharvested portion, or the producer may have had to leave crops unharvested after meeting supply needs for a week. These crops might be left in the field to rot if not for the ability of nonprofits to glean these crops as donations to feed hungry Marylanders. I’ve previously written on liability when allowing gleaners on the farm, to read that post, click here. For those producers who have crop insurance coverage on these crops, is gleaning allowed on insured acres? The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) has requirements that an insured producer should meet before allowing gleaning to take place on their farms. Continue reading

Remember to Certify Conservation Compliance for Crop Insurance Program By Premium Billing Date

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Tilling field with tractor.  Image is by United Soybean Board

As many of you who have purchased crop insurance since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill already know, conservation compliance has been relinked with the crop insurance subsidy. This relinking means that many producers who traditionally have not participated in farm bill programs (such as Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage) were not required to certify conservation compliance. Continue reading