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Agricultural News

Beef Checkoff Management Gets Clean Review

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:30:47 CST

Beef Checkoff Management Gets Clean Review
A management review of the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) by the Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) verified that the Beef Board is operating within the provisions of the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order and in line with all applicable Federal laws, regulations and policies.

"In our management review of CBB, we noted no reportable findings," declares the report from the AMS Compliance and Analysis Program staff, released last week. "Our review showed that CBB adhered to the AMS Guidelines for Oversight of Research and Promotion Programs, as well as its own policies."

The review was completed per USDA requirements that AMS conduct management reviews of all commodity boards every three years. For this review, USDA compliance and analysis staff were in CBB offices from July 15-19, 2013, during which time they met with senior management and examined support documents for various CBB activities.

"As secretary-treasurer of the Beef Board, I review finances of the Board on a monthly basis," said Jimmy Maxey, a cattle feeder in Fresno, Calif. "Having seen all of the policies and procedures at work in protecting our checkoff investments, I have confidence in the systems we have in place, so I can't say that I am surprised by the results. But I think these comprehensive reviews are critical to the transparency of checkoff operations to all producers and importers who pay the beef checkoff assessment."

As part of the financial audit, AMS selected a sample of 60 total disbursements - totaling $9.84 million - for fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013 for review, as well as supporting documentation, account coding, proper approvals, amounts of disbursements and appropriateness per the disbursements policy. In addition, the team also performed a walkthrough of a monthly cost allocation for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which is the Beef Board's largest contractor.

Additional areas of review included: risk assessment; accounting and financial management; cash receipts and receivables; disbursement and payables; insurance and fidelity bonds; contract compliance; promotional materials; recordkeeping and information collection; and travel and expense reimbursements, to name a few.

As part of its management review, the USDA team also examined a total of 12 contracts for fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013, and found them all "consistent with the Act, Order and AMS Guidelines that were in place when the contracts were signed." A review of 15 promotional materials covering a variety of topics and types were all found to be "properly communicated to and previously approved by AMS, (and) all of the materials were tied to an approved (Authorization Request)."

In addition to the management review, the compliance and analysis team from USDA gathered information while at the CBB offices to address the Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) recommendation for development of supplemental audit procedures for future CBB reviews. The information gathered will be used to develop those procedures.

"We are pleased to share the results of this management review with beef producers and importers nationwide," Maxey said, "so that they can feel confident that their hard-earned checkoff dollars are being invested with the utmost care and integrity."

A copy of the report is available at AMS Management Review of CBB.



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