The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling declaring the pork checkoff unconstitutional and returned the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The higher court has instructed the Appeals Court to reconsider the pork case in view of its recent ruling on the beef checkoff.

In that case, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 in ruling that the Beef Promotion Act does not violate the First Amendment.

A similar challenge to the pork checkoff has been on hold at the Supreme Court pending the outcome of the beef checkoff case.

On May 31, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari in Johanns vs. Campaign for Family Farms and then returned the matter to the lower court.

“We believe this is very good news for the majority of pork producers who support the work being done on their behalf through the pork checkoff,” says Dave Culbertson, Geneseo, IL, president of the National Pork Board, which collects checkoff dues for research and educational programs.

“Opponents of the checkoff have unfairly tried to make this a case of big producers against small producers,” says the Geneseo, IL, pork producer. “The record will show that checkoff programs are at work on behalf of producers of all sizes and production styles. All producers benefit from increased demand, from the value added through export of U.S. pork to Asia, Mexico and elsewhere, and through the scientific advances in animal health and food safety supported in part by checkoff-funded research.”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a major step toward final resolution of the lengthy legal process for the pork checkoff.

“We look forward to the conclusion of this case so all producers can come together to move the industry forward and to focus precious industry resources on improving the marketplace for pork,” says Culbertson.