Food advertising and promotion programmes financed by assessments on US farmers, importers and processors are at risk of collapse under the weight of several lawsuits working through the US courts. At stake is as much as US$1bn a year for marketing milk, beef, pork, soybeans, potatoes, watermelons, orange juice, grapes and other fruits and vegetables. James C. Webster, former assistant secretary for governmental and public affairs at the USDA, investigates.