and Center for Individual Freedom
Forces in Beef Checkoff Lawsuit
cattle producing family in Montana and the Center for Individual
Freedom (CIF) on August 7th filed briefs in a lawsuit
constitutionality of the mandatory beef promotion program.
submitted in U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana, on behalf
of Steve and Jeanne Charter, ask the court to freeze all existing
beef checkoff assets and establish an escrow account for those assets
and for future checkoff payments, pending the outcome of the case.
In addition, the suit seeks a refund of past compelled payments,
should the program be declared unconstitutional.
This suit follows
the June 25 ruling by the US Supreme Court in United States v.
United Foods, that it violates the First Amendment for the government
to compel mushroom producers to pay for industry advertising.
The beef checkoff
program which claims to raise more than $80 million annually
is paid for by an assessment on beef producers of $1 per
head of cattle sold. The program, enacted by Congress, has become
increasingly controversial as independent ranchers have challenged
the large waste of money, diversion of funds for inappropriate purposes,
and advertising that benefits giant corporate packing houses and
retailers at the expense of independent producers.
object to being forced to fund the National Cattlemans Beef
Associations (NCBA) and the Beef Boards advertising,
education and promotion programs," said Jeanne Charter. "Their
messages fly in the face of everything we, as family cattle ranchers,
Executive Director of CIF said, "For the Charters and thousands
of independent cattle producers like them, this lawsuit is about
their livelihood. The program has been abused by an association
that purports to speak for all cattle producers, but does not represent
the diverse views and interests of small ranching families. For
the Center for Individual Freedom, it is a pure First Amendment
issue of compelled speech."
read the Centers press release,
read the legal briefs in this case, click below:
more background on the Beef Checkoff program and legal efforts to
overturn it, read "Gone
in a Mushroom Cloud" by
Lee Pitts, Executive Editor of Livestock Market Digest.
to Center's Legal Activities Index