OIG: Checkoff audit finds no evidence of wrongdoing

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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.”

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Kansas  |  April, 05, 2013 at 02:14 PM

This inside report is like "leaving the fox in charge of the chicken house". The fact remains that it should have been done by a nuetral third party! The other fact remain that when the missuses and abuses earlier disclosed and admitted to have evidently been thown out of the equation! If even one penny was abused or "misused"they should all be FIRED! It is the problem we have even today with the government and that is corruption is easy to find "JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY". Where were the Checkoff auditors reports and any discovery with the checkoff earlier?? The abuses were discovered and why was this not even listed in the new report. It happened and hopefully some of you can read the other disclosures and not act blind to the fact that YOUR money was knowingly abused. Never buy into the lies that they didn't understand these abuses. They are covering their rears because their heads are buried in their rears!

SD  |  April, 08, 2013 at 09:18 PM

Mike S., I strongly disagree with your claim that there have been "missuses" and "abuses" of the Beef Checkoff! And certainly no deliberate or deceptive misplacement of expenses or costs. There have been misplacment of project cost attributions due to the necessarily complex system of keeping track of those expenses. But, there are mechanisms built into the system, designed and agreed upon by all parties involved from the beginning of the checkoff to assure that no one could 'get off with' any of the money. That had been a problem, or appeared to be so, with other ag industry checkoffs, and those working to effect our Beef Checkoff did NOT want that to happen to this one! What has been the real problem, in not only my opinion,is that some in our beef business just do not trust anyone outside their own clicque or organization to be honest, and they are certain that those with whom they disagree politically (ag politics, at the least) are going to cheat. They are well designed checks and balances, and multiple organizations have a hand in conducting the audits. USDA has oversight, and they sure aren't going to accept any of the situations you claim have occurred! Audits from the beginning have shown when and where there are discrepancies, and they can, are, and have been corrected with NO money going into the wrong "pockets". It is pretty easy to make outrageous accusations when you have no responsibility to prove them!

Kansas  |  April, 15, 2013 at 01:22 PM

I have a copy of 7 full page articles and ads in the NCBA annual report and member magazine paid for and funded by the beef checkoff! Do you know what it cost to advertise in a magazine like this? It is advertising but several pages leads me to fully believe that they are paying for "other" items with the revenue laundered through the ads at probably 10,000 per page.. Call and ask what it cost for a full page ad! You need to get off the farm and see whats really going on while you work.. I will remind you that before I pick sides I know the difference in lieing, cheating and stealing.. I have fired others for way less than this. I don't believe they are squeaky clean as your comments might suggest. You probably believe that the current and past government politicians are all honest and your friends. Look at the state association funding with their tax reports then post that! I can and do read outside info while some do not.

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