Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Beef Checkoff

Chuck Zimmerman

I know there’s a big sigh of relief at the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and some disappointment at the Livestock Marketing Association but at least the drama is over for now. Although I don’t have a release yet from the Beef Board directly, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has already distributed one.

Supreme Court Rules Beef Checkoff Constitutional Cattlemen's Beef Board

DENVER (May 23, 2005) – The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that the Beef Checkoff Program is constitutional, thus allowing the program’s demand-building efforts to continue. The decision overturns a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that found the federal Beef Promotion and Research Act in violation of the First Amendment. The checkoff has helped grow consumer demand for beef more than 25 percent since 1998 and has increased the prices that producers receive for their cattle.
“We are elated,” said Jim McAdams, an Adkins, Texas, cattleman and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). “Throughout the lengthy litigation process, we believed in the merits of our case and the merits of the beef checkoff.” He said, “We anticipated a positive decision. This is a victory for all producers who want demand-building efforts in beef safety, nutrition and promotion continued.”

Cattlemen have supported a checkoff assessment since 1922. January 2005 independent research indicates that a significant 73 percent of beef producers support the current $1-per-head beef checkoff program. Upon the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the beef checkoff case in May 2004, an overwhelming 113 state and national beef industry and general agriculture organizations signed a friend-of-the-court amicus brief in support of the beef checkoff. The brief was also signed by attorneys general from 35 states and Puerto Rico and the chairmen of both the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

For more information contact Joe Schuele.

Ag Group