KEVIN STRUSS; STRUSS FARMS, L.L.C.; & STRUSS & COOK FARMS, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE; RISK MANAGEMENT AGENCY; & FEDERAL CROP INSURANCE CORPORATION, Defendants., No. 18-2184-JWL, 2019 WL 2490721 (D. Kan. June 14, 2019)
Plaintiffs seek judicial review of defendants’ Final Agency Determination (FAD-277) under 5 U.S.C. § 706, a provision of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the parties have submitted the matter for decision by the Court on written briefs (Doc. ## 21, 27, 30) based on the administrative record. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that defendants’ action in issuing FAD-277 was not arbitrary or capricious, and the Court therefore denies plaintiffs’ request to set aside that action. Judgment will therefore be entered in favor of defendants in this matter.
Defendant Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and defendant Risk Management Agency (RMA) are agencies of defendant United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). FCIC administers a program of crop insurance under the Federal Crop InsuranceAct (FCIA), 7 U.S.C. §§ 1501 et seq. FCIC issues crop insurance policies and also provides reinsurance for policies issued by private insurance companies known as approved insurance providers (AIPs). RMA administers the program on behalf of FCIC. For purposes of this case, there is no distinction between FCIC and RMA.
Defendants have issued regulations to carry out this program of crop insurance. One such regulation, 7 C.F.R. § 457.8, sets out certain terms, known as the Basic Provisions, that must be included in and govern any policy under the program. Other regulations provide that a program participant may request a final agency determination (FAD) by which FCIC interprets the FCIA or the authorized regulations. See 7 C.F.R. §§ 400.765-400.768.
In 2016, plaintiffs suffered losses with respect to their corn crop, and they submitted claims to an AIP under seven crop insurancepolicies subject to the federal program. According to plaintiffs’ complaint in this matter, the AIP denied the claims because plaintiffs failed to provide certain production records for corn that they were able to harvest and sell. Plaintiffs requested an FAD interpreting the applicable Basic Provisions from the regulations. On January 16, 2018, defendants issued FAD-277, in which they rejected plaintiffs’ proposed interpretation. Plaintiffs exhausted administrative remedies and subsequently filed the instant action seeking judicial review of FAD-277.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT THAT defendants’ Final Agency Determination (FAD-277) shall not be set aside, and judgment shall be entered in favor of defendants in this matter.
Sylte v. Idaho Dep’t of Water Res., No. 46062, 2019 WL 2479799 (Idaho June 14, 2019)
This appeal concerns the distribution of water to water right 95-0734 in the Twin Lakes-Rathdrum Creek Drainage Basin. Sylte Ranch, LLC, is the current claimant on water right 95-0734, which dates from the year 1875 and provides natural flow stockwater from Rathdrum Creek. On September 20, 2016, Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) issued a letter of instructions to the local watermaster in response to a complaint that he was releasing storage water from Twin Lakes contrary to the 1989 Final Decree that established all existing rights to Twin Lakes’ surface waters, tributaries, and outlets. These instructions led Sylte to file a Petition for Declaratory Ruling, arguing that IDWR should set aside and reverse the instructions because they improperly limited water right 95-0734 to Twin Lakes’ natural tributary inflow. Twin Lakes Improvement Association, et al., and Twin Lakes Flood Control District intervened in the case. Following cross motions for summary judgment, IDWR issued a Final Order, in which it upheld the instructions and granted intervenors’ motion for summary judgment. Sylte then sought judicial review and the district court affirmed IDWR’s Final Order. Sylte timely appealed to this Court. We affirm the district court’s determination to uphold IDWR’s Final Order because the instructions complied with the plain language of the 1989 Final Decree.