Agriculture


America’s farmers and ranchers are being forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually to mandatory assessment programs, or checkoffs, for so-called "generic" advertising. In fact, the twelve largest commodity promotion boards spend more than $700 million per year of hard earned producer money. The Center believes that these types of mandatory checkoff programs violate the First Amendment, which exists, in part, to prevent the government from compelling individuals to subsidize the expression of certain views with which they may disagree. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Center’s belief in United States v. United Foods, as it relates to mushroom producers. The Center is committed to putting an end to unconstitutional checkoffs.

Commodity Checkoff Programs:

Center Files Brief Urging Supreme Court to End Beef Checkoff

The cows have come home. After years of numerous lawsuits in the lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide this term whether farmers and ranchers can be forced to pay for generic advertising under so-called checkoff programs. The case, Veneman v. Livestock Marketing Association, is on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and challenges the beef checkoff program, which pays for the "Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner" campaign,,,[more]

Checking Off Another Court

A federal appeals court declared the federal dairy checkoff program unconstitutional Tuesday concluding that forcing farmers to pay for generic advertising constituted compelled speech in violation of their First Amendment rights...[more]

Beef: It’s What’s in Our Courts

Beef, it’s not just "what’s for dinner" these days. Beef is the main entrée in courtrooms throughout the country, from the highest in the land to the rogue Ninth Circuit. The Center for Individual Freedom received notice this week that oral arguments have been scheduled before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Charter, et al. v. USDA, et al., a case challenging the constitutionality of the beef checkoff program...[more]

Pork: The Other Checkoff Victory

Members of the Campaign for Family Farms ("CFF") and many other independent hog farmers are as happy as pigs in …, well, you know what we mean. This week, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that the national pork checkoff program is unconstitutional because the payment of the mandatory assessments violates the First Amendment rights of pork producers by compelling them to subsidize speech with which they do not agree...[more]

Beef Checkoff: It’s What’s Unconstitutional

A federal appellate court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the federal beef checkoff program violates the First Amendment rights of American beef farmers and cattle ranchers by compelling them to pay for generic advertising with which they disagree...[more]

Center's Beef with Beef Continues:
Reply Brief Filed in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Finishing out the briefing schedule, the Center filed a reply brief before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Charter, et al. v. USDA, et al., a case challenging the constitutionality of the beef checkoff program.  On behalf of the Charters and hundreds of other independent cattle ranchers, the Center's brief argues that the per-head charge on cattle to pay for promoting beef consumption, known as the checkoff program, violates the First Amendment rights of the Charters and others who oppose being forced to support speech that is directly contrary to their views and interests...[more]

See You Later Alligator: Another Checkoff Fund Ruled Unconstitutional

Well, now we can say we've heard it all! Remarkably, some government bureaucrat convinced Louisiana's legislature and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that the State needed to impose mandatory assessments to support generic advertising for alligator products.  With a bite being taken out of its profits, Pelts & Skins, LLC, a luxury skin company, challenged the assessments...[more]

Ranchers File Brief in 9th Circuit Beef Checkoff Appeal

On April 3, attorneys for Montana cattle ranchers Jeanne and Steve Charter, in conjunction with more than 100 independent beef producers and the Center for Individual Freedom, filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in the ongoing lawsuit over the constitutionality of the mandatory beef promotion program, responsible for messages such as: "Beef.  It's what's for dinner."...[more]

Free Speech War on the Range: Legal Challenges to Nation's Commodity Checkoff Programs

By Eric Schippers Got Milk? The question may sound innocuous, but for many of America‚s independent farmers and ranchers that marketing slogan, and others like it, represents compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment... [more]

Grape Expectations: Federal Appeals Court Rules Table Grape Check-Off Unconstitutional

Since 1996, grapes grown for wine production have produced bottles aged to perfection, while others have shriveled into raisins.  At the same time, a federal lawsuit over table grapes has wound its way through the courts like a vine...[more]

Federal Judge Rules Beef Checkoff is 'Government Speech'

Abandoning the notion that the beef checkoff is a "self-help" program, the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) have temporarily staved off one of a number of challenges to the beef checkoff by persuading a federal court that the program is, in fact, "government speech."...[more]

Welcome to the Town of "Got Milk?"
A Shining Symbol of the Fleecing of America's Dairy Farmers


What to do when an endless parade of mustachioed celebrities starts getting old?  Go out and buy a town, of course.

Jeff Manning, Executive Director of the California Milk Processor Board, which oversees the "Got Milk?" advertising program, has devised a plan to solicit a small town in his state to change its name to "Got Milk?" in exchange for a "meaningful contribution" to the town and construction of a local "Got Milk?" museum and tourist attraction.  "It's all about the ad campaign," Manning beamed to the San Francisco Chronicle.[more]

Pork: The Other Unconstitutional Checkoff

A federal judge in Michigan declared another of the nation's agricultural commodity promotion programs unconstitutional in an order issued October 25.  The order struck down portions of the federal Pork Production, Research and Consumer Education Act of 1985, which created the pork checkoff program authorizing the collection of mandatory assessments on pork producers that pay for generic advertising, such as the campaign touting "Pork: The Other White Meat."…[more]

Beef Checkoff Litigation
Avoids Trial On Factual Issues

The Honorable Richard F. Cebull, United States District Court Judge for the District of Montana, entered an order on August 30, 2002, that averts a trial on factual issues in dispute in the legal battle over the Beef Checkoff Program filed by Montana ranchers Steve and Jeanne Charter and the Center for Individual Freedom. This legal twist comes in response to cross-motions filed by the parties requesting the court to summarily rule on the constitutionality of the checkoff program.....[more]

Center to Participate in Capitol Hill Roundtable on Legal Challenges to Commodity Checkoff Programs

On July 22, 2002, the Center for Individual Freedom’s Executive Director, Eric Schippers, will participate in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill, hosted by The Dairy Trade Coalition, on the mounting legal and legislative challenges to the nation’s mandatory agricultural commodity promotion programs...[more]

Beef Checkoff Declared Unconstitutional

In a case with broad implications for the nation’s agricultural commodity promotion programs, a federal judge in South Dakota on June 21 struck down the federal Beef Promotion and Research Act, which is responsible for the beef checkoff and messages such as: "Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner."

Dairy Farmers File Motion for Summary Judgment in Dairy Checkoff Case

On June 6, 2002, dairy farmers Joseph and Brenda Cochran, in conjunction with the Center for Individual Freedom, filed a motion requesting summary judgment in the case challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory dairy promotion program...[more]

Congress Rejects Back-Door ‘Government Speech’ Ploy by Agricultural Trade Associations

After months of around-the-clock, intensive negotiations, Congress passed the long-awaited $173 billion, 10-year Farm Bill. The 421-page colossus seems to contain something for everyone this election-year — except for the 15 agricultural trade associations who sought to slip into the bill language that would declare all commodity checkoff-related advertising as "government speech."...[more]

Final Brief Filed in Beef Checkoff Case; Hearing Scheduled

On April 2, 2002, attorneys for independent ranchers Jeanne and Steve Charter in conjunction with the Center for Individual Freedom, filed the final brief before oral arguments begin in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory beef promotion program. A hearing on the case is scheduled for April 16, 2002, before Judge Cebull of the U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana.

The legal brief reiterates the argument that the mandatory checkoff program should be struck down because it violates the First Amendment rights of independent ranchers by forcing them to contribute to speech with which they disagree. The lawsuit was filed following a June 25, 2001, ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. United Foods in which the Court ruled the mandatory mushroom program is unconstitutional.

To read the brief, click here.

Dairy Farmers and Center for Individual Freedom File Suit Against Dairy Checkoff

A family of dairy farmers, in conjunction with the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), filed on April 2, 2002 a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory dairy promotion program.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on behalf of Joe and Brenda Cochran, seeks to enjoin the USDA and the Dairy Promotion Board from collecting dairy checkoff assessments, or using existing checkoff funds without prior consent of those assessed, pending a declaratory judgment in the case. In addition, the suit asks the court to prohibit defendants from using dairy checkoff funds in defense of this claim...[more]

To download the legal complaint as a word document, please click here.

Commodity Groups Attempt End Run Around Courts in
Checkoff Battle

In an attempt to influence the outcome of pending litigation over the nation’s commodity checkoff programs, 15 agricultural trade associations (claiming to represent farmers’ "interests") recently sent a letter to the House-Senate Conference Committee working on the 2002 Farm Bill, urging it to slip in language that would declare all checkoff-related advertising as "government speech."...[more]

To read the Center's letter to the House-Senate Conference Committee on this issue, click here.

Dairy Farmers and Center for Individual Freedom Mount Legal Challenge to Dairy Checkoff

A family of dairy farmers, working in conjunction with the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF), today announced that it has engaged a prominent agricultural attorney to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the USDA’s mandatory dairy promotion program....[more]

Ranchers and CIF File Brief in Support of Preliminary Injunction in Beef Checkoff Lawsuit

Attorneys for Jeanne and Steve Charter in Montana and the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) filed a brief on October 12, 2001, in support of their motion for preliminary injunction in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory beef promotion program...[more]

To read the full brief in support of motion for preliminary injunction, click here.

CIF LAUNCHES "GOT MILKED?" ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN;
Urges U.S. Dairy Producers to Join Fight Over Mandatory Advertising Programs

The Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) on September 24, 2001, announced the launch of an advertising campaign aimed at enlisting the support of U.S. dairy producers in the battle over the nation’s commodity checkoff programs...[more]

To view the print ad, click here
To hear the radio ad, click here

CHECKOFF FIGHT BUILDS MOMENTUM
130 Independent Cattlemen and Nine National, State and Regional Organizations Join Lawsuit Over Mandatory Beef Promotion Program

In a motion filed in Federal District Court in Billings, Montana on September 14, 2001, 130 independent cattle producers and nine organizations joined Montana ranchers Steve and Jeanne Charter and the Center for Individual Freedom in the legal battle over the Beef Checkoff Program. The coalition of cattlemen and agriculture groups, in requesting permission to intervene on the Charter’s behalf, declared the Checkoff "unfair, undemocratic, and unconstitutional." ...[more]

LEGAL ATTACKS MOUNT IN BEEF CHECKOFF BATTLE
Cattleman Appeals Case Against Beef Checkoff to U.S. Supreme Court

In yet another legal challenge to the constitutionality of the beleaguered mandatory beef promotion program, a petition was filed today at the U.S. Supreme Court by Kansas farmer and cattleman Jerry Goetz, with support from the Center for Individual Freedom...[more]

Ranchers and Center for Individual Freedom
Join Forces in Beef Checkoff Lawsuit

An independent cattle producing family in Montana and the Center for Individual Freedom (CIF) on August 7th filed briefs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the mandatory beef promotion program...[more]


[About CFIF]  [Freedom Line]  [Legal Issues]  [Legislative Issues]  [We The People]  [Donate]  [Home]  [Search]  [Site Map]
2000 Center For Individual Freedom, All Rights Reserved. CFIF Privacy Statement
Designed by Wordmarque Design Associates
News About The Supreme Court Conservative News Legislative News Congressional News Agricultural News Campaign Finance Reform News Judicial Confirmation News Energy News Technology News Internet Taxation News Immigration News Conservative Newsletter Legal Reform News Humorous Legal News News About Senator Kennedy News About The War In Iraq Tribute to President Ronald Wilson Reagan