A Farmer Faces $2.8 Million Fine After He Bought 450 Acres of Land and Began Plowing It

In Tehama County, California a farmer is facing a $2.8 million fine in federal court for failing to get a permit to plow his field and starting a garden of wheat. A lawyer for the Duarte Nursery said that the case is an important one because it could set a precedent that requires other farmers starting a garden to obtain costly, time-consuming permits just to plow their fields. The case seems to be the first time as far as people are aware of, that says that you need to get a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit when starting a garden to grow crops. This will make it difficult for homesteading and an off grid life under these kinds of strict regulations. The penalty trial, in which the U.S. Attorneys Office is asking for $2.8 million in civil penalties, is set to take place in August. It goes to show the importance of getting the proper permits and information before you go out and start homesteading and living in off-grid houses.

This case is a good reminder to people that they should be careful in what they do. If you are hoping to live an off-grid life and build a house off the grid when starting a garden, you want to inquire and know all of the information regarding any water on your property. It is better to be prepared in all that you do, even if it is for an off grid life. This case comes as a surprise as apparently, farmers are exempt from the Clean Water Act rules when they plow their fields when starting a garden. And regardless if you are living an off-grid life or starting a garden, the government is always paying attention, so it's important to be informed. Because even under the farming exemption, a discharge of dredged or fill material that is incidental to the any of the farming activities that impairs the flow of the waters on the land, still requires that of a permit. This is because the activity changes the physical, chemical, and the biological integrity of the waters. The government also wants Duarte to help repair the wetlands and to replant certain plants on the piece of property.

The case started back in 2012 when John Duarte, who owns the Duarte Nursery near Modesto, California bought 450 acres of property located about 10 miles south of Red Bluff. Duarte planned on starting a garden to grow wheat on the large acreage, this according to Anthony Francois, who is the lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation.Duarte was starting a garden of wheat but did not harvest because in February 2013 the Army Corps of Engineers along with the California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board issued orders for Duarte to stop work at the homesteading site. The agencies claimed at the time that Duarte had violated the Clean Water Act because he had not obtained the proper permit to discharge dredged or fill material into seasonal wetlands that were considered waters of the United States. And because Duarte disturbed portions of the acreage when starting a garden that included wetland areas, so the U.S. attorney alleges.

The ripping of the soil deposited dirt into the wetlands and the streams on the property which was in violation of the Clean Water Act, this according to documents that were filed by the United States attorney. Francois has said that he thought the proposed penalties were unfair. And his client thought the plowing exemption had allowed him to till the soil. You will find this storey on the Our Daily Ideas site. On the site, you will also find other trending news, country living, homesteading, new trends, food, DIY ideas, fashion, art, health and more. **


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