NAD news view

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    March 2017 (2013S000432-434) Prevailing Party for EAJA Appeals: The proper provision for determining whether an EAJA application was timely filed with NAD is 7 C.F.R. §1.147(g), which provides that a document is deemed filed when it reaches [NAD’s] office, i.e. deposited in that office’s post office box, not 7 C.F.R. §11.14(a). EAJA application deemed not timely because the application was not received by NAD within 30 days of the final disposition.
    In order to meet the prevailing party standard for EAJA, there must be a material alteration in the legal relationship of the parties, marked by judicial imprimatur, which occurs (1) where the plaintiff has received a judgment on the merits or (2) where the plaintiff obtained a court-ordered consent decree.  CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. E.E.O.C., 136 S. Ct. 1642 (2016), citing Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc. v. W. Va. Dep’t of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 604-605 (2001). However, the Supreme Court went on to say in the CRST case, that a favorable ruling on the merits is not a necessary predicate to finding that the defendant prevailed. The Director determined that Appellant was not a prevailing party for purposes of EAJA because FSA rescinded the adverse decisions in the underlying NAD case before a NAD Administrative Judge had issued an appeal determination on the merits. Director Review 2013S000432

    February 2016 (2015W000388) Program non-compliance for EAJA Appeals: A producer was eligible to be considered for equitable relief where FSA denied the producer’s request to take advantage of the emergency haying benefit under the CRP program.  FSA had based its determination on the fact that once Appellant had taken advantage of the emergency grazing provisions of the CRP program, he was no longer eligible to conduct emergency haying operations.   The Director found that although the producer technically had not violated any provision of the CRP program, FSA determined him ineligible to receive a benefit under the CRP program and therefore, the producer could request that NAD grant him that benefit or its equivalent in the form of equitable relief.
    The key requirement for consideration for equitable relief is not whether the participant technically has been determined by the agency to be in non-compliance with a program requirement; rather, it is the fact that the agency has denied benefits to the participant in the first place, either because the participant failed to comply with a program requirement, failed to meet eligibility requirements, failed to submit a timely application, or for any other proper, program-based reason. Director Review 2015W000388

    August 2015 (2015W000089) NAD Jurisdiction (adverse decision): RMA’s letter to approved insurance providers (AIP’s) constituted an adverse decision because it effectively denied appellants a program benefit, and a key consideration in determining whether an adverse decision is appealable, is whether the decision takes any action or makes a determination that specifically prevents an appellant from participating in a program, or from receiving a program benefit.  Director also rejected RMA’s argument that a policy decision made by the Secretary and implemented by RMA regarding a new APH yield exclusion was a “matter of general applicability” outside NAD’s jurisdiction.  NAD has jurisdiction to review an agency policy, guidance, or interpretation once the agency adversely applies such authority to a specific participant‘s request.  At that point, the matter becomes ripe for NAD review. Director Review 2015W000089

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  • Mar 12, 2018 - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue provided Congress with the 2017 Equitable Relief Report.  The report provides the number of equitable relief requests from USDA participants and the disposition of those requests.  This report and those from previous years can be found here, About NAD-Reports.

  • March 1, 2018 - NAD representatives attended the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, CA February 27th through March 1st.  The Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue came to the event and stopped by the NAD booth (read his Twitter feed here).  The Commodity Classic is “America's largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention & trade show.”  http://commodityclassic.com/home

  • Oct 3, 2017 - Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that over $9.6 billion in payments will be made, beginning this week, to producers through the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Conservation Reserve (CRP) programs.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is issuing approximately $8 billion in payments under the ARC and PLC programs for the 2016 crop year, and $1.6 billion under CRP for 2017.  More details are available in the USDA Press Release.

  • September 19, 2017 - USDA Rural Development is providing tools and resources to help rural communities recover from the devastation brought by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. You can read the USDA press release and obtain additional information from the Rural Development Disaster Assistance website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/services/rural-development-disaster-assistance.

  • June, 2017 - NAD’s Eastern Region participated in the “Ag Innovations for Small Farms” field day in Petersburg, Virginia.  The event took place on the Virginia State University (VSU) Randolph Farm and was presented by Virginia Cooperative Extension and the College of Agriculture of VSU.  Many of those that stopped at the NAD booth indicated they either currently were involved or planned to become involved in USDA programs, and indicated an appreciation that an organization such as NAD was available to help in resolving adverse decisions.
    https://www.ext.vsu.edu/events/2017/6/15/vsuusda-field-day-at-randolph-farm 

  • May 28, 2017 – The newly formed Office of hearings and Appeals (OHA) has now become effective.  OHA consolidates the three previous separate USDA entities of the National Appeals Division (NAD), the Office of the Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), and the Office of the Judicial Officer (OJO).  The new mission of OHA is to plan, coordinate, and provide administrative support for NAD, OALJ, and OJO.  OHA promotes fairness, transparency, and consistency in NAD, OALJ, and OJO proceedings through the planning, coordination, and administration of office-wide activities and initiatives.  This consolidation under a new department staff office will facilitate the sharing of administrative services and a more consistent, uniform process for the adjudication of administrative appeals at USDA.
    The OHA organizational chart can be found on the “About NAD” page

  • March 2017 - Representatives from NAD’s Southern and Western Region staffed an outreach booth during this year’s tradeshow in San Antonio, Texas.  The Commodity Classic is the largest farmer-led trade show in the country and attracts large scale corn, wheat and soybean producers.  This high-quality event and draws a large number of commodity producers with 9,303 in attendance this year.  Producers were generally optimistic about USDA’s incoming Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, and thankful that work is starting now on the 2018 Farm Bill.
    http://www.commodityclassic.com

  • March 2017 - One of NAD’s Administrative Judges from the Southern Region represented NAD at the 26th annual Alcorn State University Extension Program (ASUEP) Small Farmers Conference, in Greenville, Mississippi.  The conference brought together a diverse group of small farmers, ranchers, vendors, and other exhibitors from throughout the Mississippi Delta.  The Administrative Judge found many of the attendees participate or wish to participate in USDA programs, and most were not aware of the service NAD provides.  "Most visitors to our display did not know about NAD because they had only positive results from USDA programs and never needed to appeal, but all were happy to hear we're there for them with a fair appeal process if they ever question an Agency's decision."   
    https://www.alcorn.edu/academics/schools-and-departments/school-of-agriculture-and-applied-sciences/land-grant-programs

  • February 2017 - NAD’s Western Region attended the 40th annual Spokane Ag Expo.  This was the first time NAD attended this event and people who visited the NAD outreach booth expressed interest in the NAD mission and appreciated the information.
    https://greaterspokane.org/ag-expo/