R-CALF USA requests remedial action on beef checkoff
In a firmly worded letter sent yesterday to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, R-CALF USA once again requested that significant changes be made to the Beef Checkoff Program. Many requests in this letter were originally submitted in a letter sent August 4, 2010.
The letter states, “It is beyond any semblance of common sense and impartiality that you would allow the Beef Checkoff Program to continually collect and expend producer contributions – for a period of nearly four years after you had definitively learned that funds were being misspent – while not having any assurance whatsoever that the program was being operated and administered in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations.”
R-CALF USA’s renewed complaint requests that Secretary Vilsack:
1) immediately freeze all Checkoff accounts managed or controlled by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA);
2) immediately suspend the Checkoff contract between NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB);
3) immediately conduct a full and complete investigation and audit into NCBA’s fiscal management of Checkoff funds for a period to include at least the past five years (the investigation must go well beyond the small sampling of transactions reviewed in the Accountant’s Report);
4) take any and all action necessary to both redress any violations, non-compliance, and fraud that may be discovered, and reimburse the Checkoff in full for each dollar that may be found to have been misappropriated; and,
5) take action to completely separate the NCBA from the Federation of State Beef Councils.
The letter explains that R-CALF USA submitted these requests and complaints again because they “have been stonewalled for nearly four years,” and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no closer to validating these complaints and addressing the requests than they were in 2010 when R-CALF USA first began making them.
“The facts show that after [UDSA] learned definitively that the NCBA attempted to expropriate hundreds of thousands of U.S. producer dollars, after your OIG agency issued a whitewashed report that conspiratorially attempted to exonerate the NCBA, CBB and [USDA] from complicity for the misappropriations of those producer dollars, and even after the OIG retreated from its conspiratorial cover-up, you continue to allow the NCBA, including its policy division, to benefit both directly and indirectly from the Beef Checkoff Program” the letter further explains.