But Radel said the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 allows the government to take nearly half of some raisin crops without paying farmers anything. Radel said that violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which says private property cannot be taken without "just compensation."

ADVERTISEMENT
"Right now, at the hands of a Depression-era law, the government is scooping up a majority of the raisins grown in this country, with no compensation to raisin growers and farmers," he said Thursday. "This is a violation of their Fifth Amendment rights.

"The Farmer Freedom Act repeals this bizarre and needless law," he said of his bill, H.R. 2840. "Removing failed government policies from our agriculture programs allows the free market to prosper and ultimately, lower prices at the checkout the next time you buy groceries."

Radel was reacting to a July 18 Washington Post editorial, which documented a California family that stopped handing over its raisins to the government. When the government tried to enforce the law, the family filed a lawsuit saying the law is unconstitutional.

"They took our raisins, and they didn't pay for them," the farmer told the Post.