DES MOINES, Iowa – In federal court in Michigan, a judge granted a temporary restraining order postponing the termination of the pork checkoff program pending a hearing outcome.
A preliminary injunction hearing will be held Feb. 2.
A group of pork producers including independent producers, the Michigan Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council, filed suit Jan. 12.
The lawsuit contends USDA acted unlawfully in holding a binding referendum despite having no legal authority to do so. Even if a referendum could be held, USDA ran the referendum in a manner that was filled with irregularities, that failed to apply consistent standards or to count all lawfully cast ballots.
The temporary restraining order entered states: “The entire process leading to the termination of the pork checkoff program was arguably flawed. It is in the public’s interest that a court examine the proceedings and their result.”
Approximately $54 million was collected through the pork checkoff in 2000.