The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia earlier this month affirmed the constitutionality of the dairy producer-funded checkoff program, reversing a decision made by the court in February 2004.
This ruling, which marks the formal conclusion of the legal challenge against the producer-funded dairy checkoff program, follows the U.S. Supreme Court decision in May 2005 that rejected a First Amendment challenge against the beef checkoff program.
"This ruling is good news for Americaâ€™s dairy producers as their investment in promotion and research helps build sales for U.S.-produced dairy products and ingredients," says Paul Rovey, an Arizona dairy producer and chairman of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff program. "Weâ€™re working hard to help develop lifelong dairy consumers through powerful partnerships that provide a long-term value to producers nationwide."
According to the USDA, per capita total dairy consumption has increased by more than 13% since 1983, when the national checkoff program was created. Today, the average person consumes more than 592 pounds of dairy products on a total solids basis, compared to 522 in 1983.