“Beef: It’s what’s for dinner”
The Supreme Court today upheld a 1985 federal law requiring beef producers to pay a $1-per-head fee to support a multimillion-dollar “Beef: It’s what’s for dinner” marketing program. There are similar federal and state campaigns for other products, including milk (“Got Milk?), pork (“The other white meat”), and cotton (no idea what this campaign is….must not be a very good campaign).
The court ruled that the beef campaign is a form of “government speech” immune to First Amendment challenge.
Under the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985, the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board develops budgets and awards contracts to carry out a coordinated program designed to strengthen the position of beef in the marketplace.
This law smacks of a special interest perk (although it obviously combats the “free-rider problem” that would otherwise exist with this type of market enhancement campaign). Individual farmers should not be forced to buy into a marketing campaign by force of federal legislation. The Supreme Court needs to reconsider the individual rights of free speech and freedom of association in this case.