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