The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has responded to allegations by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) that NCBA may have breached the financial firewall between its policy and checkoff divisions.
During a Thursday morning news conference, NCBA’s CEO Forrest Roberts said his organization goes to great lengths to comply with the firewall.
“NCBA, whether it is a member of our leadership or a member of our staff, would never, never intentionally breach the financial firewall,” said Roberts.
Roberts says just because CBB’s accountant was unable to determine compliance on select items does not mean that NCBA was not compliant. He says NCBA will work with CBB and USDA’s Ag Marketing Service agency to understand the written guidelines that are currently being developed.
NCBA President Steve Foglesong says where mistakes were made, corrections will be made. “We will resolve every one of these questions. Where we need to do something, where we need to balance the books we will do that. That’s exactly the way we have always done it before, for the last 20 years, even before the NCBA, back in the National Cattlemen’s Association days,” he says.
“Everybody just got together, sat down, and wrote the books and made it right.”
Foglesong says audits are nothing new, although this is the first time one’s been made public.
“They are tools to make the check-off and firewall stronger. And every time you do one, you have some lessons that you learn how you can make it better. We made changes from the last one that helped to make it and we will continue to do that. It’s a work in progress and it always will be,” says Foglesong.
Roberts was asked by a reporter if NCBA is suspicious of the release of the audit details and timing.
“That is a question you should be asking the CBB,” he replied. “The questions that I want us to focus on are ‘How are we going to make sure that we address any issues within this compliance review?'”