USDA to continue approving payments for “Pork. The Other White Meat”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) decided that, based on its review of the value of four “Pork. The Other White Meat” trademarks the National Pork Board purchased from the National Pork Producers Council, it would continue to approve the Pork Board’s annual payments for the trademarks.

NPPC sold the trademarks to the Pork Board in 2006 for about $35 million. NPPC financed the purchase over 20 years, making the Pork Board’s annual payment $3 million. The sale was an arms-length transaction with a lengthy negotiation in which both parties were represented by legal counsel, and USDA, which oversees the federal Pork Checkoff program administered by the Pork Board, approved the purchase. In 2012, the Humane Society of the United States, a lone Iowa farmer and the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed a lawsuit against USDA, seeking to have the sale rescinded. A U.S. District Court dismissed the suit for lack of standing, but a federal appeals court in August 2015 reinstated it.

Subsequently, USDA agreed to review the purchase, including conducting a valuation of the trademarks. In a frequently-asked-questions document on its website, AMS set the value of the four trademarks at between $113 million and $132 million. It is unclear whether HSUS will continue to press its lawsuit.

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