Judge halts termination of pork checkoff

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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.

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