The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) says it has filed a reply in Montana’s federal district court regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s opposition to the group’s motion to expand the scope of its beef checkoff lawsuit to include more states. With the reply, R-CALF urged the court to further expand the case to include 15 states by adding Maryland.
Last month, R-CALF asked District Court Judge Brian Morris, Great Falls, MT, to expand the injunction to include checkoff funds in Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.
The current injunction against the checkoff was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in April, and only applies to Montana. Under the injunction, the $1 beef checkoff is still collected, and the money is sent to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Montana ranchers who wish for half of their dollar to go to the Montana Beef Council must complete a producer consent form, and the CBB then sends the money back to Montana.
Following R-CALF’s request to expand the suit to include additional states, USDA filed in opposition to the group’s request.
Attorneys for R-CALF USA include lead counsel David Muraskin, a Food Project Attorney at Public Justice, J. Dudley Butler, of the Farm and Ranch Law Group, and Bill Rossbach of Rossbach Law, P.C. in Missoula, Montana.