USDA AMS Will Take Second Look at Beef Checkoff Agreement

R-CALF USA requests suspension of NCBA contract with CBB.

Published on: Jan 20, 2011

R-CALF USA sent a formal request to the Departments of Agriculture and Justice requesting that the proposed resolution between the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association be rejected.  It appears the pressure being applied has caused USDA to reconsider its initial approval of the agreement, which would have NCBA repay nearly $217,000 for spending discrepancies and accounting errors. The Agricultural Marketing Service will reexamine the agreement, which R-CALF believes absolves NCBA of its misuse of Beef Checkoff dollars..

R-CALF USA is also pushing for NCBA's contract with CBB to be suspended, pending a full and complete investigation into NCBA's misuse of Checkoff money. R-CALF USA Checkoff Committee Chair Joel Gill says NCBA's improper expenditures are intolerable, and these serious violations represent not only disrespect and disdain by NCBA for its legal obligations to the Checkoff, but also to the hundreds of thousands of independent U.S. cattle producers required to pay into the Checkoff.

"If AMS approves the joint agreement, it would confirm concerns that subsidization is ongoing," Gill said. "And would make it appear the NCBA's repayment for its misuse of Checkoff funds was actually a no-interest bearing loan to NCBA by the Checkoff for NCBA's several improper expenditures."

Next week R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard will meet with Craig Morris, deputy administrator of AMS' livestock and seed program where he plans to list his group's objections to the checkoff settlement. The group also wants the Justice Department to investigate all NCBA expenses charged to the checkoff in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, and the first five months of fiscal 2010. Not just the sampling included in the present agreement.