JUDICIAL

Mittelstadt v. Perdue, No. 17-2447, 2019 WL 191045 (7th Cir. Jan. 15, 2019)

Mark Mittelstadt owned a tract of land in Richland County, Wisconsin, that was enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program(“CRP”), administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), from 1987 to 2006. Participants in the CRP agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production in return for annual rental payments from the USDA. In 2006, the agency denied Mr. Mittelstadt’s application to reenroll his land in the CRP. After exhausting his administrative appeals, he brought this action against the Secretary of the USDA (“the Secretary”). He asserted one claim under Section 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., challenging the Secretary’s final decision denying reenrollment, and one common law claim for breach of contract. Mr. Mittelstadt moved for summary judgment in the district court, seeking an order directing reenrollment of his land in the CRP and awarding monetary relief for the alleged breach of contract. The district court denied his motion for summary judgment, affirmed the Secretary’s rulings, and entered judgment in favor of the Secretary on Mr. Mittelstadt’s APA and breach of contract claims. Mr. Mittelstadt now appeals the district court’s decision.
Under the regulations governing the CRP, the USDA has broad discretion to evaluate offers of enrollment in the program on a competitive basis by considering the environmental benefits of a producer’s land relative to its costs. Given the agency’s wide latitude, we conclude that the Farm Services Agency (“FSA”) did not abuse its discretion when it denied reenrollment of Mr. Mittelstadt’s land. Moreover, because he never entered a new contract with the agency, there was no breach of contract. The Court affirms the judgment of the district court.
Marby Hogen & Susan Hogen, Plaintiffs & Appellants v. Steven C. Hogen, as Pers. Representative of the Estate of Arline H. Hogen, Deceased; Steven C. Hogen, as Tr. of the Curtiss A. Hogen Tr. B, as created under the Last Will & Testament of Curtiss A. Hogen; & Steven C. Hogen, individually, Defendants & Appellees, 2019 ND 17 

Appellants appeal from a summary judgment in their quiet title action after the district court determined their interest in certain land was inferior to the interests of the Curtiss A. Hogen Trust B and the Estate of Arline Hogen. Marby and Susan Hogen argue the district court erred in not quieting title to the land in them. The court affirms.
At issue in this appeal is an interest in about 737 acres of farmland in Barnes and Cass Counties. Curtiss and Arline Hogen were married and jointly owned the farmland. In the 1960s, their son, Rodney Hogen, began farming the land with Curtiss Hogen. Curtiss Hogen died in 1993, and his will distributed his undivided one-half interest in the farmland to the Curtiss A. Hogen Trust B, with Arline Hogen designated as the recipient of the net income from the Trust. Curtiss Hogen’s will appointed his two children, Steven and Rodney Hogen, as co-trustees of the Trust and authorized the Trust to continue the farming operation. Rodney Hogen continued farming the land under a cash rent and cropshare agreement with the Trust and with Arline Hogen, the owner of the other undivided one-half interest in the farmland.
LEGISLATIVE:

H.R. 527: To provide for a land exchange involving Federal land in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota acquired by the Secretary of Agriculture through the Weeks Law, and for other purposes. Info HERE