The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending several changes to improve oversight of commodity checkoff programs.
The recommendations include instituting a better review of subcontracts and display of key documents on program websites, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. There are 22 federal agricultural research and promotion programs, funded by a fraction of the sale of each unit of a commodity.
In 2016, check-off funds totaled more than $885 million. The GAO reviewed eight of the programs and says the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has improved oversight since the last review in 2012. However, GAO also found that AMS does not consistently review subcontracts, which the office says impairs its ability to prevent misuse of funds, and that only four of the eight checkoff programs shared all key documents, including budget summaries and evaluations of effectiveness, with stakeholders on program websites.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.