The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a California case that could indicate whether the government has the right to collect advertising dollars as a tax from agricultural growers. While similar taxes support major national campaigns for milk, beef and orange advertising, among others, the court challenge involves advertising for California peaches, nectarines and plums.
Several California growers in 1987 began withholding the advertising assessments they had been paying the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that normally fund state-sponsored industry marketing campaigns. The growers contended the assessments violated their freedom of speech. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the growers.