I wanted some insight on this article, as I have not been to this website before and the claims seem over the top to me.
64-year-old federal raisin-marketing program that can require raisin farmers, as a condition to selling their raisins in interstate commerce, to fork over to the government a portion of their crops—as much as 47% in some years—often for no payment or below the cost of producing the raisins.
I can buy this, historically it made sense with some products to reduce what was sold to keep more farmers in the market, or pay farmers to destroy crops. Generally the laws meant to prevent a flood of crops and keep the farmers in business for the more harsh years. So why are raisin farmers not reimbursed?
Where I really start to feel things are not accurate though is:
It wasn't long before the Department of Agriculture (USDA) began monitoring and harassing the Hornes, their staff, and their buyers, according to Marvin. “They stopped my employees’ children and scared them. They stopped the trucks hauling our products and asked the drivers if they knew they were hauling contraband,” he says. “They also harassed our buyers, subpoenaed their records, and asked how many raisins they bought. I don’t think any businessman in America has ever been as harassed as we were.”
Does the USDA really have this much power? And are they not acting at least partially outside of the law? It seems as though if there were a real violation the USDA would be able to shut the operations down. Harassment as described is never legal or allowable within the US government, is it? Or is there some sort of "perfect storm" allowances here with raisin farmers being a small group?
Skimming through this, it appears the raisin reserves are sold in a way that is supposed to bring fair returns to the farmers
(d)(1) Reserve tonnage raisins shall be sold to handlers at prices and in a manner intended to maximum producer returns and achieve maximum disposition of such raisins by the time reserve tonnage raisins from the subsequent crop year are available.
So what the heck is going on here? How much truth is there to the original article and is this applicable anywhere else? I knew the US government paid to keep a surplus of food out of the stores, but do they also bully producers as a standard practice?