Grand Rapids, Mich. A federal judge declared as "unconstitutional and rotten" the U.S. Department of Agriculture's pork-checkoff program that forces farmers to pay fees to support national advertising.
The $54 million program is best known for its promotion of pork as "the other white meat."
The ruling disappointed Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.
She said in a statement issued Monday in Washington that such commodities programs are "effective tools for market enhancement."
However, Rhonda Perry, a hog farmer in Armstrong, Mo., and a representative of the plaintiff group Campaign for Family Farms, declared the ruling "a victory for family farm hog producers all across the country."
U.S. District Judge Richard A. Enslen in Kalamazoo ruled Friday against the National Pork Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1985, which spawned the program.