A California raisin farmer is facing bankruptcy for defying a law requiring him to give the government a portion of his raisin crop without compensation.
According to a Washington Post report, Marvin Horne, 68, stopped giving the government his raisins in 2002 and now “owes the U.S. government at least $650,000 in unpaid fines,” in addition to “1.2 million pounds of unpaid raisins, roughly equal to his entire harvest for four years.”
Horne violated Marketing Order 989, passed during the Truman administration, “a federal regulation meant to solve a problem from the era after World War II, which created the national raisin reserve. The program gives the U.S. government a heavy-handed power to interfere with the supply and demand for dried grapes” and takes “away a percentage of every farmer’s raisins” without paying for them. The law has been described as one that gives the government the power to operate a cartel.
The government can save the raisins, sell them to foreigners, throw them away, or even feed them to animals — so long as they are off the domestic market.