A recently completed audit of the beef checkoff has determined that the $52 million program is operating according to law and USDA regulations.
“The Office of Inspector General (OIG) determined that the relationship between the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (beef board) and other industry-related organizations, including the beef board’s primary contractor, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), complied with legislation,” the report stated.
Specifically addressing allegations that beef checkoff funds may have been misused, the authors of the report said, “We found no evidence to support that the board’s activities… did not comply with legislation, and AMS guidelines and policies. Funds were collected, distributed and expended in accordance with the legislation.”
Following the release of the OIG report, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board issued the following statement: “We are proud to receive this validation of the effectiveness of our systems and processes to safeguard producer and importer investments into the Beef Checkoff Program. The bottom line: producers and importers can be assured by the OIG report and the Beef Board’s mission of continual improvement that our checkoff dollars are being invested appropriately and effectively.”
Although the report reaffirmed the checkoff is being managed properly, it also included recommendations for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The OIG recommended AMS “Develop and implement standard operating procedures for management reviews, specific to the beef board, that include procedures for reviewing the overall process of collecting, distributing, and expending of assessment funds, and for reviews of the entire beef board contractor expenditure verification process.”
Further, the OIG recommended that the “Beef Board require detailed estimates of project implementation costs, such as salaries, benefits, all applied overhead expenses, and other expenses, before it authorizes projects.”