NCBA responds to CBB allegations of misusing beef checkoff funds

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 27 – Responding Tuesday to a Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) report issued Monday alleging improper use of beef checkoff funds, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Steve Foglesong, an Illinois producer, stated that:

“On Monday evening, July 26, we received the independent accountant’s final report. We are committed to achieving accuracy in this report. Responsible use of the producer dollars and ensuring the financial firewall are critical. Where mistakes were made, we will correct them.

“A compliance review has been conducted every year of NCBA’s 14-year existence. There has been a transparent as well as full reconciliation of expenses when warranted. Every time there is a review, there are lessons, and we consider those an opportunity to fine-tune our processes going forward.

“We agree with CBB’s accounting firm, Clifton Gunderson LLP, and with CBB that written and specific guidelines are needed for all checkoff contractors. The accountant’s inability to determine compliance on select items does not mean non-compliance. Rather, it is an indication that written guidelines are needed to achieve compliance.

“NCBA understands the importance of compliance with the financial firewall and accepts this responsibility without question. It’s for this reason we keep separate bank accounts and our accounting and time keeping procedures are in accordance with and even exceed most industries’ standards. We have more than 8,000 different coding options for accurately assigning time and expenses. We strive for accuracy and will continue to seek clarity on guidelines to ensure compliance.

“When the National Cattlemen’s Association merged with the National Live Stock and Meat Board, NCBA became more than a policy organization. NCBA became the home for the Federation of State Beef Councils, and as such, the No. 1 champion for the beef checkoff. Our employees log more than 200,000 hours annually building and protecting beef demand. Every hour is focused on delivering results that matter with a strong focus on being accountable to producers.

“Our commitment is to address the compliance review through a very factual and transparent process with our Federation partners, CBB and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which share accountability to producers who pay the checkoff. A complete response to the accountant’s report will be addressed with CBB, participants from state beef councils and state cattlemen associations and NCBA directors at this week’s Cattle Industry Summer Conference.”

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