Supreme Court Denies Petitions on Beef Checkoff 

June 27, 2022 - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge levied against the Beef Checkoff program by Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, or R-CALF USA.

The Supreme Court denied R-CALF USA's December 2021 petition that challenged the implementation of the federal Beef Checkoff program.

The group had asked the court to consider whether otherwise "unconstitutional-compelled subsidies of private speech" are "government speech" free from First Amendment review.

"We sure commend the Supreme Court with their decision," said Montana Beef Council President Brett Dailey. "Now, the Montana Beef Council and nationally, we can keep all of our focus the way it should be and that's the promotion of beef."

The Jordan, Mont. rancher says says the Beef Checkoff program-whether it’s the 50 cents that stays in state or the 50 cents that heads to national-really does fund some great programs that promote beef.

"There certainly are," said Dailey. "They continue to grow and expand and new ones not only at the state but at a national level. And those of us with the Montana Beef Council that serve on as Federation as directors at a national level, we not only get to hear but scrutinize and vote on whether to take those new ones on."

On May 2, 2016, R-CALF sued USDA, alleging the federal Beef Checkoff program amounts to a "government-compelled subsidy of private speech of a private entity," and argued it was unconstitutional. A preliminary injunction was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

USDA then entered into memoranda of understanding with 20 state beef councils in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

R-CALF has argued in court that in entering the agreements, "USDA denied R-CALF USA's members -- and ranchers everywhere -- their right to weigh in on a federal program they are forced to fund."

Source: DTN & Western Ag Network