Category Archives: Checkoff Program Challenges

September 25, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Happy Friday!  Here are a few of the ag law stories in the news. * Sign up for CFAP 2 program begins.  The USDA has announced a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2, which will provide payments to qualifying farmers and ranchers.  The application period is open now through December 11.  Many of the main commodities in our area, including cattle, sheep, sorghum, wheat, cotton, and corn are eligible.  For more information and a full list of eligible commodities, click here.  Our District 1 economist, Dr. Justin Benavidez, recently… Read More →

Montana Court Rules in Favor of Beef Checkoff

In a major ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Montana, the court held that the qualified state beef checkoff (QSBC) programs operating under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Agriculture (UDSA) do not violate the First Amendment and dismissed the lawsuit brought by the Ranchers-Cattleman Action Legal Fund (R-CALF). Background In 1985, Congress passed the Beef Promotion and Research Act, which imposed a $1 per head assessment each time cattle are sold in the United States.  The funds… Read More →

April 3, 2020 Weekly Round Up

Here is a list of some of the recent agricultural law stories in the news. *Montana Court upholds constitutionality of beef checkoff.  The biggest story of the last couple of weeks was a trial court ruling in the beef checkoff litigation.  The United States District Court for the District of Montana found in favor of USDA and the Montana Beef Council, holding that the advertising and promotional speech of the Montana Beef Council (and similar organizations in 14 other states) constituted government speech given USDA oversight.  Thus, the… Read More →

2018 Ag Law Year in Review

Well, it’s been quite a year for agricultural law!  Looking back, it has been interesting to see the variety of legal issues that have come up in the last 365 days.  From a major class action settlement by Syngenta to new electronic logging device rules to nuisance litigation in North Carolina, there are numerous issues of which agricultural producers should be aware. If you want to hear more about these topics, Paul Goeringer and I did a Year in Review joint podcast.  You can listen here.  {Since we… Read More →

Texas Beef Checkoff Facing Legal Challenge

In addition to an ongoing legal challenge in Montana, state beef checkoff programs in thirteen more states are now facing legal challenge.  Ranchers-Cattleman Action Legal Fund (“R-CALF”) seeks to expand the injunction it obtained in Montana to also include checkoff programs in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin. The current beef checkoff litigation began in Montana where R-Calf filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture in 2016.  In summary, the plaintiffs argued that because… Read More →

June 30, 2017 Weekly Round Up

This week I spoke to a great group in Sweetwater about leases and estate planning.  Welcome to those of you joining from that meeting! There has been so much ag law news happening in the last couple of weeks that my head is still spinning.  Here are the highlights. * Jury verdict for Kansas farmers in first Syngenta Viptera/Duracade class action trial.  A Kansas jury awarded nearly $218 million to Kansas farmers in this much-watched class action suit, finding that Syngenta was negligent.  Syngenta has already said it plans… Read More →

Federal Magistrate Sides with Producers in Montana Beef Checkoff Lawsuit

The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (“R-CALF”) and the United Stockgrowers of America have likely survived a motion to dismiss their case against USDA challenging the beef checkoff and obtained an injunction against the Montana Beef Council (“MBC”) to prevent it spending money received from the federal Beef Checkoff Board on promotion.  A federal Magistrate Judge sided with the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which claims that the federal law requiring funding of the MBC is unconstitutional.  Additionally, the Magistrate suggests a preliminary injunction be issued, which would prohibit the… Read More →