Beef and Pork Check-offs Ruled Unconstitutional; What Does the Future Hold for Agricultural Check-offs?
On July 8, 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the Federal District Court for the District of South Dakota and held the beef check-off to be unconstitutional. More recently, on October 22, 2003, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the Federal District Court for the Western District of Michigan and invalidated the pork check-off on constitutional grounds. Another case involving the beef check-off is pending in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. The outcome of that case, along with the recent opinions of the Eighth and Sixth Circuits, will have an important bearing on the future of agricultural checkoffs.