Off again, on again: Court stay checkoff


KALAMAZOO, Mich. – In the latest soap opera of commodity checkoff court cases, a federal appeals court granted a stay that permits the pork checkoff to continue collections during an appeal process.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Enslen had ruled Oct. 25 the checkoff was unconstitutional and that the USDA must stop collecting fees Nov. 25. The USDA sought a stay of the order, pending the appeal’s outcome, from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The stay was granted Nov. 15.

In the original suit, the Missouri-based Campaign for Family Farms sued the USDA to stop checkoff collections.

Original ruling. Enslen ruled that the pork checkoff was unconstitutional, writing, “The government has been made tyrannical by forcing men and women to pay for messages they detest. Such a system is at the bottom unconstitutional and rotten.”

It works. Supporting the USDA’s appeal, the National Pork Board was pleased with last week’s stay.

“You bet we are glad to see this program continue,” said Craig Christensen, a producer from Iowa. “The pork checkoff provides the tools we all need on our farm, but don’t have time or resources to do individually.”

Pork producers pay an assessment 40 cents on each $100 value of hogs sold to fund the program, which conducts research, promotion and consumer information projects.


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