Hereford cow and calf Ablestock

Judge rules Montana beef checkoff unconstitutional

District court's preliminary injunction prohibits collecting beef checkoff funds without payers’ consent.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana affirmed a ruling that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's beef checkoff program, as currently administered, violates the First Amendment. The court put in place a preliminary injunction prohibiting the private Montana Beef Council from retaining beef checkoff funds without the payers' consent.

The court took action after a magistrate previously recommended the injunction in December 2016, agreeing with plaintiff in the suit -- the

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