by Zach Weissmueller


The Supreme Court has decided to hear an important property rights case involving raisin farmers who aren’t allowed to keep and sell their own crop. Every year, their raisins are seized by a Depression-era bureaucratic organization called the Raisin Administrative Committee, as Damon Root noted yesterday (January 16, 2015).

Reason TV profiled the couple at the center of the case, Marvin and Laura Horne, two years ago when the case was on its way to the Supreme Court for the first time. The court ended up kicking the case back down to the 9th Circuit, citing jurisdictional issues, but now that the 9th Circuit has ruled against the Hornes and their fellow raisin farmers once and for all, SCOTUS will finally decide the central issue of the case: Does personal property (i.e., crops) qualify for the same protections under the Fifth Amendment’s “Takings Clause” as does real property (i.e., land)?

“They want us to pay for our own raisins that we grew,” says Raisin Valley Farms owner Marvin Horne. “We have to buy them back!”

This is but one absurdity that Marvin and his wife Laura have faced during their decade-long legal battle with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Every year, the Hornes plant seeds, tie vines, harvest fruit, and place grapes in paper trays to create sun-dried raisins. And every year, the federal government prevents them from bringing their full harvest to market.

Watch the video for the full background on the case and to see what it’s like for farmers who have up to 47 percent of their crop seized every year.

Read the full article here.