SALEM, Ohio — A Kansas beef producer has filed a federal lawsuit trying to stop beef checkoff dollars from going to influence governmental action and policy.
Michael P. Callicrate has filed the lawsuit in Kansas against the USDA, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Daniel D. Owen, of the law firm, Polsinelli Shughart P.C. in Kansas City, Mo., filed the lawsuit Aug. 9.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against the USDA, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, Beef Promotion Operating committee and the Agricultural Marketing Service.
According to the lawsuit, these groups govern the national “Beef Checkoff,” which generates over $80 million from beef producers annually.
Violated beef act?
The lawsuit contends that the USDA, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, Beef Promotion Operating Committee and Agricultural Marketing Service violated the Beef Research and Information Act of 1985.
According to the lawsuit, the groups did this by giving the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association beef checkoff funds even though the NCBA is primarily a policy and lobbying organization. The lawsuit states the NCBA uses the beef checkoff funds to influence governmental action and policy.
Callicrate, a Colorado beef producer since 1973, filed the lawsuit on behalf of all cattle producers. He continues to pay the $1 per-head of cattle assessment mandated by the beef act of 1985. He sells the majority of his cattle in St. Francis, Kan., and the beef checkoff dollars for those cattle are remitted there, which is the reason for the filing in Kansas.
Callicrate wants the court to stop the NCBA from using the checkoff funds for the purpose of influencing governmental action or policy.
He is not asking for any money for himself but asking that contracts between the NCBA and the USDA, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, Beef Promotion Operating Committee and the Agricultural Marketing Service are suspended. In addition to court costs and attorney fees are paid.