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Letters from readers

By Staff | May 29, 2015

To the editor,

The article written about my involvement on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board in your May18 edition did not fully recognize the depth and extent of the Beef Checkoff Program oversight and division from checkoff dollars being utilized for lobbying and influencing policy-making decisions.

CBB producer members – beef, dairy and veal producers and importers – are nominated by producer organizations in their states and appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The structure of the Beef Checkoff Program is designed so that beef producers are responsible for directing, reviewing and approving expenditures of all checkoff investments, at state and national levels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is involved in oversight of the checkoff. For example, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reviews financial reports, invoices and program records to assure CBB is operating within the requirements of the Beef Act and Order.

In addition, there are internal controls in place to assure $1-per-head beef checkoff is being properly spent.

Beef checkoff funds cannot be and are not used to influence government policy or action, including any kind of lobbying. I am one of 10 producers that comprise the CBB’s audit committee. We spend numerous hours reviewing documents and helping direct audits of our books and records, internal accounting controls and management practices for accountability.

Over the last few years, the Beef Checkoff Program has gone through numerous audits, and each audit confirmed that all checkoff investments are being used in accordance with the Act and Order.

Again, the bottom line is that no beef checkoff dollars go to fund lobbying efforts of NCBA or any other organization. All policy efforts are funded only by those organizations’membership and other non-checkoff finances.

Every five years, the Beef Checkoff Program undergoes a macroeconomic analysis and evaluation to measure the return on beef producers’ and importers’ investments into the national Beef Checkoff Program.

In the most comprehensive study ever rendered about the return on investment of checkoff assessments, in 2014, Dr. Harry Kaiser, of Cornell University, concluded that every $1-per-head investment in the Beef Checkoff Program between 2006 and 2013 returned $11.20 to the beef industry.

I am proud that the checkoff works to improve the consumer’s understanding of, and demand for, beef.

The checkoff is carefully managed, professionally administered, and stringently supervised.

All of Iowa’s beef producers can be proud of these facts, too.

Kent Pruismann

Rock Valley

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