The appeals process in the pork checkoff matter is moving forward, fueled by one recent and two upcoming court actions.

On Dec. 20, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief with the Appellate Court. In addition, another group representing Michigan pork producers, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and six state pork producer associations filed a brief with the Appellate Court.

The Campaign for Family Farms (CFF) has until Jan. 21, 2003, to file a brief responding to the DOJ and Michigan briefs, including the opportunity to argue their case as to why they believe the Appeals Court should uphold the District Court's verdict. On Nov. 15, the Sixth District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, OH, granted a stay of a Michigan federal court ruling, declaring the pork checkoff program unconstitutional. The stay was requested by DOJ for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Pork Board.

There is also a Jan. 31 deadline by which the DOJ and the Michigan groups can respond to the CFF brief and provide any summary conclusions that they would like the Court of Appeals to consider, according to court documents.

The date for oral arguments has not been set, but speculation is it could be held in the spring and the ruling handed down later in 2003.