State and national beef checkoff collections will continue without interruption while an appeal is pending, thanks to a court order.

On July 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit granted a request for a stay, which was filed by the Justice Department July 8 on behalf of USDA. The stay postpones implementation of the June 21 decision by a district court in South Dakota, which ruled the beef checkoff unconstitutional and directed that the collection of assessments cease on July 15.

The July 10 decision now means beef producers and importers must continue to pay the $1/head beef checkoff assessment; those who fail to pay the assessment may be subject to late payment charges and civil penalties up to $5,500/violation.

Wythe Willey, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says the decision is a significant victory for the majority of beef producers who support the program.

"We are gratified the appellate court has recognized the magnitude of the national beef checkoff program," Willey says. "Every prior attempt to undermine the constitutionality of the beef checkoff has failed, and we are confident that in the end this effort, too, will fail."