A group of Nebraska cattle producers and the U.S. Justice Department will ask the nation's highest court to review a ruling that found a national beef checkoff program unconstitutional.
The case stems from a July decision by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that American beef producers do not have to pay a $1-per-head fee on cattle sold in the United States. Money raised from the checkoff is used to help fund advertising, education and research programs on beef.
The appeals court affirmed a 2002 decision by U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann of Aberdeen, S.D., that the mandatory fee violates the constitutional rights of cattle ranchers by infringing on their First Amendment right to free speech.