Groups Say NCBA, Checkoff Financial Firewall is Functioning

August 3, 2011 06:37 PM

Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association

The Beef Checkoff financial firewall at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is functioning as it should, according to officials of both NCBA and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), which oversees the Beef Checkoff Program.

“The financial firewall is intact and functioning properly,” according to Polly Ruhland, acting CBB CEO. “CBB monitors NCBA’s compliance with the firewall as part of our review of the monthly invoices submitted to CBB for the work performed under the approved Authorization Requests.”

Concerns had been expressed last year after an AUP (Agreed-Upon Procedures) audit on checkoff finances at NCBA found some time and expense coding issues. As a result, CBB suggested changes to NCBA’s established procedures.

“Any coding mistakes made by NCBA were unintentional,” according to Forrest Roberts, NCBA CEO. “Knowing that accuracy in our checkoff compliance impacts the credibility of and producer support for the checkoff, we strive for 100 percent accountability. There were no willful or intentional misappropriations of checkoff resources.”

Since NCBA was formed in 1996, expenses have been reviewed regularly by independent auditors and CBB. In an effort to continually improve its controls over time and expense recording procedures, NCBA has hired a compliance officer. Furthermore, NCBA expenses are reviewed by CBB on a monthly basis.

“Resolutions to all of the compliance issues identified by the Clifton Gunderson AUP Report were approved by CBB and USDA in January 2011,” said Ruhland. “CBB staff members have been working closely with the new NCBA director of compliance to review and discuss NCBA’s ongoing enhancement of their policies and procedures related to compliance with the firewall.”

Roberts said good work by NCBA and CBB with checkoff funds over the past 15 years speaks for itself. Consumers have more confidence in beef, new products show up more often in restaurants and supermarkets and news media have a better understanding of the beef industry. Through the checkoff, NCBA and CBB also managed several major food safety issues, such as E. coli and BSE.

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