Producers must give consent for Montana Beef Council to utilize funds, judge says
BILLINGS, Mont. – (July 20, 2017) – On June 21, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris granted Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America a preliminary injunction enjoining USDA from continuing to allow Montana Beef Council (MBC) to use the assessments that it is qualified to collect under the Beef Checkoff Program to fund its advertising campaigns, unless a cattle producer provides prior affirmative consent authorizing the MBC to retain a portion of the cattle producer’s assessment. As a result of this preliminary injunction, the MBC must begin forwarding all federal Beef Checkoff Program funds directly to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, absent proof that a producer has provided advance affirmative consent authorizing the MBC to retain a portion of that producer’s assessment.
By law, all producers selling cattle or calves, for any reason and regardless of age or sex, must pay a $1-per-head assessment as required by the Beef Promotion and Research Act. Under the Act and the Beef Promotion and Research Order, qualified state beef councils like the Montana Beef Council are legally responsible for collecting assessments on a monthly basis and the collection of the assessments in the state of Montana will continue.
Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers. This mission is accomplished through working with a variety of partners who utilize the funding to carry out beef promotion and education activities.
As a result of the preliminary injunction, after assessments are collected from Montana beef producers, if producers do not provide prior affirmative consent to the Montana Beef Council, their full assessment will remain with the Cattlemen’s Beef Board for use on national programs and projects. For further information, contact the Montana Beef Council at (406) 656-3336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Montana Beef Council
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Phillip Drake sold cattle that weren’t his to collect more than $500,000; some still missing.