Government asks for stay of beef checkoff injunction

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DENVER – The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a request for a stay of an injunction that would otherwise stop collection of $1-per-head beef checkoff assessments effective July 15.

The injunction was issued as part of U.S. District Court Judge Charles Kornmann’s June 21 ruling that declared the Beef Checkoff Program unconstitutional.

The request for a stay, which would allow checkoff collections and program funding to continue through an appeal process, will be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit Court.

Defendants in the case include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The suit was brought by the Livestock Marketing Association, the Western Organization of Resource Councils, and several individuals.

Appeal ruling. “We are pleased that the Department of Justice has decided to appeal this case,” said Beef Board Chairman Dee Lacey, a cow-calf producer from California.

Though Lacey said she is pleased that Kornmann’s ruling will be appealed, she remains disappointed at the division and expense that this lawsuit has caused for the beef industry as a whole.

“It’s truly unfortunate – especially during this difficult market situation – that industry resources have to be diverted from beef marketing and promotion efforts to spend money and time in the courtroom instead.”

Strong support. In annual independent surveys conducted since the launch of the beef checkoff 15 years ago, producers have repeatedly voiced strong support for the program, Lacey said.

In the latest survey, released in January 2002, about 68 percent of producers said they approved of the Beef Checkoff Program.

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