R-CALF Sues USDA to End Beef Checkoff

gavel3
gavel3

The Rancher’s Cattlemen’s Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF), filed suit May 2 in U.S. District Court in Montana, challenging the government’s oversight of the Beef Checkoff Program. R-CALF claims its members 1st Amendment rights are being denied because they are forced to pay into Montana’s Beef Council without a voice in its marketing strategy.

The national Beef Checkoff Program, which collected more than $80 million in FY 2015, is used unconstitutionally, R-CALF claims, to promote international beef. In a press release, R-CALF USA says  that while its members must pay into the $1 per head Checkoff program, those funds are used to convince consumers that beef from R-CALF members’ cattle – raised domestically and in compliance with rigorous standards concerning safety, treatment and quality – is no different than beef produced under far less stringent procedures abroad.

“The Checkoff’s implied message that all beef is equal, regardless of where the cattle are born or how they are raised, harms U.S. farmers and ranchers and deceives U.S. citizens,” said R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard. “Despite what we know to be clear evidence about the high quality of beef raised by independent U.S. cattlemen, we are being taxed to promote a message that beef raised without the strict standards used by our members is the same as all other beef, a message we do not support and do not agree with.”

R-CALF’s press release calls the Beef Checkoff a tax, and claims the checkoff “advances the agenda” of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Co-counsel for R-CALF USA J. Dudley Butler, Butler Farm & Ranch Law Group PLLC, said, “This is not only a battle to protect constitutional rights but a battle to ensure that our food supply is not corralled and constrained by multi-national corporations leaving independent farmers and ranchers as mere serfs on their own land.”

Bullard said R-CALF wants the court to issue an injunction to stop the collection of the Beef Checkoff.

 

Latest News

Star Ranch Angus Brand Refresh

Carrying branded programs such as Tyson's Star Ranch Angus beef has benefits for both retailers and consumers. Shoppers still associate branded programs with better quality, better value and more consistency.

Embracing the Positives in Sustainable Cattle Production

Cattlemen are the original climate heroes, preserving natural resources, while producing safe, affordable and abundant protein. Speakers at NCBA's Winter Reboot discussed how cattle production contributes to society.

Commodity Group Execs Say Biden's Top Trade Pick Tai Knows Agriculture

While trade is not a headline of the Biden Administration in the first 100 days, it’s not stopping Katherine Tai from making her voice heard. Tai is now waiting full confirmation vote to put her ideas to work.

BLM Rescinds Hammond's Grazing Permits

In another installment in the years-long saga of the Hammond Ranch, the Interior Department on Friday rescinded grazing permits that had been restored under the Trump administration.

CAB Insider: Quality Carcass Spreads Turn Up Early

The two weeks in the middle of the month marked by extreme weather and insufficient fed cattle to harvest-space put a cap on cattle prices as packers found themselves well-supplied.

Victor Ranch Receives Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award

The Victor Ranch has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award®, which recognizes land owners who inspire with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat resources.