Beef Checkoff (R-CALF USA v. Perdue)

Beef Checkoff (R-CALF USA v. Perdue)

We are lead counsel on behalf of the nation’s largest organization of independent cattle producers, R-CALF USA, in a suit raising a First Amendment challenge to the administration of the Beef Checkoff program in Montana.

In Montana, ranchers have to pay a $1 tax per head of cattle sold into a checkoff fund to allegedly promote beef consumption. For every $1 the government collects from ranchers, it hands over 50 cents to the private Montana Beef Council, which has worked with a multinational corporation to promote their interests over those of independent ranchers — like when the Montana Beef Council used the checkoff money to advertise for Wendy’s, which does not commit to buying meat from Montana or even United States ranchers. Thus we argue that checkoff is a form of compelled speech, and that the government has failed to properly regulate how that money has been spent.

We won an injunction against the collection of checkoff funds in Montana on those grounds, which was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2018. Now we are asking for a halt to checkoff funds in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin as well.

Trial Briefs

Appellate Briefs

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