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Agricultural News

New York Times Features Dispute Over Review of Beef Checkoff Spending by National Cattlemens Beef Association

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 17:11:27 CDT

New York Times Features Dispute Over Review of Beef Checkoff Spending by National Cattlemens Beef Association The dispute over the Compliance Review that looked at how the National Cattlemen's Beef Association spent beef checkoff money has reached the pages of the New York Times. In today's Business Section of the newspaper, writer William Neuman leads by saying "An influential cattle industry group misused money raised from ranchers and farmers for promoting beef sales and violated federal rules by spending some of it to support lobbying activities, according to an outside financial review."

The headline calls the Review an "audit" but we were told multiple times by the officers of the Cattlemen's Beef Board that this was not an audit, but rather as we called it previously was a review of expenses and hours worked by select employees on a random or as the Compliance Review by Clifton Gunderson called it, "haphazardly." Click here to go back to our original news report on the release by the CBB of the Review- including links to the full 18 page report.

In the news report, the writer writes about the two sides that are squared off over this report- "The financial review, released last week, was commissioned by a separate industry group, the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which is appointed by the secretary of agriculture and oversees the federal marketing effort, known as the beef check-off program.

The board concluded in an executive summary accompanying the review that the cattlemen's association had "breached the financial firewall" between marketing and lobbying.

In a statement, the board called the audit results "extremely troubling" and said it would proceed with the more comprehensive review."

As for his take on the NCBA- the National Cattlemen's Beef Association- "Officials of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association acknowledged that some mistakes had been made, but they also disputed several of the findings. They said guidelines on how the marketing money should be spent were often unclear.

In a written response that challenged some of the report's conclusions, the association said it expected the review would result in less than $20,000 in reimbursements. The report did not give a total dollar amount for its findings, but it listed at least $90,000 in questionable or poorly documented transactions."

There was an Oklahoma flavor to the article, as the picture at the top of the story centered on Adam McClung, now Executive Director of the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association and a recent employee of the Oklahoma Beef Council. On page two of the article, a picture has Richard Gebhart, a board member of the Oklahoma Beef Council in focus.

Click here to read the full article as written by the New York Times on the Compliance Reivew.

Click here to go back to our audio overview that included comments from CBB and NCBA leaders on the Compliance Review.



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