Court Upholds R-CALF USA’s Preliminary Injunction


Many agriculture groups are ramping up efforts to promote beef to consumers as the fight against imitation meat and franken-foods mislead consumers. Exposing “fake meat” for what it is and encouraging consumers across the nation to eat real beef is a top priority for many ranchers. 

On the promotion end of the beef industry, many in rural America have been watching R-CALF USA's lawsuit against the USDA and the Montana Beef Council (MBC). R-CALF claims that ranchers First Amendment Rights are compromised in how the MBC promotes beef. 

Monday, in a two to one decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld R-CALF USA’s preliminary injunction that was handed down in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana last year. The preliminary injunction states that “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Montana Beef Council cannot compel Montana ranchers to subsidize the private speech of the Montana Beef Council without first obtaining the affirmative consent from the rancher-payees.”

Ranchers still must pay the $1 per head checkoff fee. That one dollar goes to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.  By filling out a consent form, ranchers can elect to bring .50 cents of their dollar back to Montana to promote beef. Unless producers fill out a consent form, their full $1.00 stays with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.  

The Montana Beef Council issued the following statement after the court's announcement:

“Montana Beef Council is reviewing the court ruling, along with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and US Department of Agriculture, to understand what future effects this will have, but for the immediate future, this does not change the current operations at Montana Beef Council, and Montana producers still have the ability to support Montana Beef Council by completing a producer consent form, which can be found at”
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