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Feds’ shutdown of a California farm threatens all farmers’ rights

Author: Kristy

By Tony Francois

For the Capital Press

 

Pacific Legal Foundation lawyer Tony Francois discusses a keystone case being heard in California in which a farmer has allegedly been denied his due process right.

Every Spring, farmers plant; every Fall, they harvest. In so doing, they make their land productive and feed the nation. So important is the bedrock role of farming in our culture that even Congress, when it established the onerous wetland permitting requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, expressly and clearly exempted farming. The reason is clear: a nation that would require its farmers to spend, on average, two years and $270,000 to get a federal permit to plant and harvest crops would not long be able to feed itself.

But despite that clear exemption, and without a hearing, the Army Corps of Engineers has shut down a farm in Northern California’s Tehama County, on false charges that it should have applied for a wetlands permit.

n late 2012, Duarte Nursery planted a winter wheat crop on farm ground south of Red Bluff. Then, a year ago, with no prior notice, the Army Corps issued a cease and desist order to Duarte Nursery and its president, John Duarte, finding them both in violation of the Clean Water Act for farming without a wetlands permit, and ordering them to halt further farming.  READ MORE

 

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