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Farmer faces $650,000 fine for neglecting to “surrender” raisins to government

Posted 7/30/2013

California – Once the government has its hand in one’s business, it just can’t seem to relinquish control even if the law dates back to the Great Depression. Here’s the scoop…

A California raisin farmer, Marvin Horne, 68, the most wanted convict in the world of dried fruit, owes the government nearly $650,000 in fines. 

His crime? Horne defied a depression-era law which requires him to surrender nearly half of his raisin crop to the government without compensation, according to Fox News. 

Horne told The Washington Post, ”It’s like being a serf.”

He’s a farmer who pays his own expenses to grow his crops. And yet, he is being penalized because he didn’t give the government his raisins.

Here’s the history…

Back in 1937, Congress passed a law to control the supply and demand of raisins ONLY during the Great Depression. These seized raisins are put into a government-controlled “reserve” and kept off U.S. markets.  In an essence, this lowers the supply of raisins and increases the price for farmers can charge for raisins. Or at least the portion that the government didn’t seize. The committee, overseen by the Department of Agriculture, is allowed to sell a portion of the raisins it collects from farmers for free. Recently, it generated  over $65 million in one year, according to Fox News.

Horne has been surrendering a portion of his raisin crop to the  government-controlled raisin “reserve” every year until 2002 when he decided it was unconstitutional. Today, he owes the government 1.2 million pounds of raisins, which is approximately four harvest years, according to the Washington Post.

“I believe in America. And I believe in our Constitution. And I believe that eventually we will be proved right,” Horne told the newspaper. “They took our raisins and didn’t pay us for them.”

Horne’s lawyer, Brian Leighton, said the program was “basically theft” and was a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment clause that was supposed to protect private property from being confiscated without just compensation, The Post reported.

While Horne’s case did reach the Supreme Court in June, where the justices ordered the federal appeals court in California to take a closer look at this case, Horne still expresses concern if he loses the case.

“If we lose, we’re bankrupt. We won’t have a pot to piss in,” Horne told the paper. “No. I don’t want to even think about it. Would you?”

Conclusion? Once the government has its hands in your business, it won’t let go.

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