Legal Checkup on Checkoffs:  Recent & Emerging Legal Issues in Federal & State Checkoff Programs

Sponsored by the Agricultural and Food Law Consortium

Topic:harrison pittman

Checkoff programs, commonly referred to as research and promotion programs, are designed to promote and provide research and information for a particular agricultural commodity without reference to specific producers or brands.  State and federal checkoff programs for beef, soybeans, rice, pork, and many other commodities play a critical role in supporting industry promotion, information, and research programs.  Additionally, the programs are important to states’ departments of agriculture, states’ farm bureaus, the land grant university system, producers, and others.  Checkoff programs are increasingly the target of litigation efforts as well as important regulatory developments.  This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview and update on recent and emerging legal issues involving state and federal checkoff programs.


This webinar was recorded on February 15, 2017.  To listen to a recording of the webinar, please click here.


Harrison Pittman, Director, National Agricultural Law Center

Harrison received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, after attending Mississippi State University and graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He then earned an LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Graduate Program in Agricultural Law. Harrison has worked at the Center since 2001.  During that time, his title and job duties have spanned the range of graduate assistant, staff attorney, co-director, interim director and currently, director; in which capacity he has served since 2007.

He has taught at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law as part of the Ben J. Altheimer Distinguished Professorship for Agricultural Law, and has also served as a visiting professor at the Drake University Law School.  In addition, he formerly taught Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Introduction to Agricultural Law in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, & Life Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.  In that role, he was awarded the 2011-2012 Agricultural Business Club Teaching Award.

He is an active member of the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA), the nation’s only professional organization focused on the legal needs of the agricultural community, and was the first recipient of the AALA’s Excellence in Agricultural Law award in 2010.  Additionally, he is an active member of the Arkansas Bar Association, where he helped found the Agricultural Law Section, later served as interim chair and chair, and currently serves as vice-chair.  He is a frequent presenter on a range of topics and issues, including the farm bill, water law, and environmental law. He has authored articles on numerous subjects, including the National Organic Program, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the constitutionality of corporate farming laws, pesticide regulation and litigation, agritourism, states’ recreational use statutes, the Packers and Stockyards Act, agricultural bankruptcy issues, and environmental laws impacting agriculture.

Research & Materials:


Article: Recent MOU Provides Direct USDA AMS Oversight of State Beef Council and Binds All Third Parties That Contract With State Beef Council (Pittman, 2017)

Article: Beef, Beans, & the First Amendment: Disappearing Sovereignty for State Beef Councils and Soybean Boards? (Pittman, 2017)