South Dakota checkoff group: National audit comes back clean | TSLN.com

South Dakota checkoff group: National audit comes back clean

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program recently conducted a management review of the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB). The audit verified that the CBB is operating within the provisions of the Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order, as well as staying in line with all applicable Federal laws, regulations and policies.

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

"Every beef producer here in the state of South Dakota, as well as across the U.S., should be proud of the CBB staff members who are managing our beef checkoff dollars," said Gary Sharp, a rancher from Bath, S.D., who serves on the CBB Executive Committee. "CBB passed with a 100 percent grade on the audit. The staff is doing an excellent job of managing checkoff funds. The audit reviewed everything from policies, to receivables, to programs, and everything is accountable."

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 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 (NCBA), 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; record-keeping and information collection; and travel and expense reimbursements, to name a few.

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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.

"For those naysayers who think the checkoff is a waste of money, I urge them to think about it differently," added Sharp. "The checkoff is a self-help program that we as producers couldn't do on our own. For just a dollar, it's a pretty cheap way to promote our product in an effective way."

–S.D. Beef Industry Council