USDA affirms 2013 checkoff audit
WASHINGTON – The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) needs to strengthen its oversight of the Beef Promotion and Research Program, but otherwise nothing is amiss at the beef checkoff, according to a revised financial review conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) sought a permanent injunction against the National Cattlemen's Beef Association using beef checkoff funds as a contractor. The groups alleged among other things that NCBA was receiving preferential treatment by receiving a majority of checkoff funded projects. In an audit released in April 2013, OIG auditors determined that checkoff funds were collected, distributed, and used in accordance with federal laws. The audit review re-affirmed the earlier findings.
The OIG said in its revised report that AMS needed to improve its oversight of the program, but “We also found there was no cause to question, as it pertains to compliance with the Beef Research and Information Act, as amended (Act), and the Beef Promotion and Research Order (Order), the contractual relationships between the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (beef board) and other industry-related organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).”
Weldon Wynn, chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, said the CBB was “delighted” the review was finished and confirmed the original audit.
“Once again, the OIG did not find any cause to question the relationship between CBB and its contractors, nor did OIG find inappropriate reimbursement of contractor expenses,” Wynn said in a statement. “The bottom line is that producers and importers can be assured by the OIG report, the peer review of that report and CBB’s mission of continual improvement that their checkoff dollars are being invested appropriately and effectively.”