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Donald Says NCBA Will Respond to Allegations With Lawsuit

Gatepost

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Donald says NCBA will respond to allegations

(8/5/2011)
Rod Smith

National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA) president Bill Donald, in addressing the closing session of the Cattle Industry Summer Conference yesterday, noted that the last 12 months of disruptive relations between the Cattlemen's Beef Board and NCBA "have been a pretty rocky time."
He said those rocks have been thrown by a number of organizations that have sought to drive apart a long and successful "partnership" between the Beef Board and NCBA, and "we have remained silent through all of the false allegations" about NCBA's checkoff-funded work to build beef demand so as not to interrupt constructive efforts by the board to restore its relationship with NCBA.

"There are those who don't want us to have that partnership," Donald said, "and to those people, I say 'tough toe nails.' We've renewed that partnership. We recognize the Cattlemen's Beef Board, and we recognize that beef producers across the U.S. deserve and want that partnership."

As for the rocks, Donald said "we're not putting up with that crap anymore."

He suggested that those groups that continue to make allegations about NCBA may be considered as slandering the organization and sued. "We are going to stand up for ourselves," he said.

Donald's comments were directed at groups that took advantage of a split in Beef Board leadership over NCBA's role as the board's primary contractor to hurl charges that NCBA was inappropriately allocating and misusing checkoff funds, charges that the Beef Board, under new leadership at the conference this week, said were not true.

The board and NCBA reached out to each other this week to re-establish the partnership that Donald outlined.

Blessed odds

The board's interim chief executive officer Polly Ruhland and NCBA's CEO Forrest L. Roberts carried on that theme in earlier remarks to their board's meetings.

Ruhland told her board members that they were "blessed" because "you are here for a purpose: to lead -- to envision our needs and make them happen."

The beef checkoff, which the board manages, has made "monumental accomplishments" in building beef demand and producer viability, she said, because of its partnerships with NCBA and other contractors that have "kept us in the game every day, a growing game, a competitive game."

Roberts said by working together, state beef councils through NCBA's Federation of State Beef Councils and the Beef Board can achieve "ground-breaking initiatives" to build beef demand and create other opportunities for producers.

"We have recommitted to our partnership this week," he said, with a goal to convince more people to eat beef more often, "and I like out odds."

The summer meeting was Aug. 2-4 in Orlando, Fla.
 

Texan

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"we have remained silent through all of the false allegations"

Looks to me like they remained silent through all of the true allegations, too. Or maybe I just missed it. Did anybody from NCBA ever come out and admit that some of the things they spent our Checkoff money on was just plain WRONG?
 

mrj

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It seems reasonable that with all the people digging into those ALLEGATIONS who were determined to find actionable misdeeds by NCBA, that since there has been no 'action' taken, just possibly there were NO misdeeds.

I seriously doubt that USDA overseers of the Beef Checkoff in a Democrat admin. would look the other way for a decidedly conservative organization, not to mention that some people were hoping USDA would take over operations, or at least would give operations of checkoff contracts to 'one of their own' groups.

Most certainly there were people who WANTED to find misdeeds and failed.

What is most despicable is the amount of time, energy, and yes money, both checkoff and personal donations of time and money to accomplish Beef Checkoff work that was lost in this wild goose chase.

mrj
 

Mike

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Sweep it under the rug:

(When 70% of the NCBA's overhead is funded by checkoff dollars, something has gone awry.)
By TIM HEARDEN

Capital Press

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's agreement to repay $216,944 in Beef Checkoff funds puts issues raised by an audit to rest, a top industry official says.

The federal government this month approved the agreement after a review found NCBA had improperly billed travel and consulting expenses to the checkoff.

The audit was part of the Cattlemen's Beef Board's normal schedule of compliance reviews, said Tom Jones, the board's vice chairman and executive committee chairman.

"There were some areas of miscalculation of funds that were found, but those mistakes have been identified," Jones said. "Once everything was identified, we let the contractor look at the issues that were identified. After the contractor looked at them, we sent them to USDA ... (and) that approval came back."

As a result of the audit, the CBB will take more of a hands-on approach with checkoff contractors, conducting a monthly check of expenditures and reviewing upcoming events, Jones said.

Last year's audit of NCBA found the organization billed as checkoff expenses the domestic and international travel costs of employees' spouses, consulting fees related to the organization's policy divisions and other items the Cattlemen's Beef Board found questionable.

A more comprehensive review by Clifton Gunderson Certified Public Accountants and Consultants looked closely at NCBA's monthly spending in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. The CBB's Executive Committee approved reimbursement amounts Dec. 23, CEO Thomas E. Ramey told the USDA in a letter Jan. 7.

Of $41.5 million the Beef Board received in checkoff dollars in 2009, it sent $35.8 million to NCBA.

In a statement on Jan. 11, NCBA CEO Forrest Roberts said the organization appreciated the USDA's quick approval of the resolution. He said NCBA and its predecessors have been checkoff contractors for 24 years, and when "mistakes were made, they have been fixed."

Roberts did not respond to interview requests last week.

In response to the agreement, the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America repeated its call for the USDA to conduct a more detailed investigation of NCBA spending and for the NCBA's checkoff contract to be suspended.

However, a suspension isn't likely.

"The contractor has agreed to repay the dollars in question," Jones said, "so I hope we can move on to the challenges that are in front of us and put this behind us."
 

Tommy

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mj...I seriously doubt that USDA overseers of the Beef Checkoff in a Democrat admin. would look the other way for a decidedly conservative organization, not to mention that some people were hoping USDA would take over operations, or at least would give operations of checkoff contracts to 'one of their own' groups.

They are not looking the other way mj, they are still doing the audit. So far they have come up with another $85,000 misapproiatetd funds on top of the $216,000 the NCBA had to pay back. No one wants the USDA to take over as far as I know, but they do want seperation from the NCBA.

The Federation should be done away with in my opinion. The board members of the CBB should be the only ones to make the decisions on where and how the checkoff dollars are spent.
 

Tex

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Tommy said:
mj...I seriously doubt that USDA overseers of the Beef Checkoff in a Democrat admin. would look the other way for a decidedly conservative organization, not to mention that some people were hoping USDA would take over operations, or at least would give operations of checkoff contracts to 'one of their own' groups.

They are not looking the other way mj, they are still doing the audit. So far they have come up with another $85,000 misapproiatetd funds on top of the $216,000 the NCBA had to pay back. No one wants the USDA to take over as far as I know, but they do want seperation from the NCBA.

The Federation should be done away with in my opinion. The board members of the CBB should be the only ones to make the decisions on where and how the checkoff dollars are spent.

Not only should they be made to return the funds, they should have to pay for the audit too. I am tired of taxpayers having to pay for things like this audit and not getting reimbursed.

The CBB should not be composed of members of a group like the NCBA who plays fast and loose with beef check off funds.

It looks like all they do is go to meetings and events.

WHERE IS THE BEEF DEMAND?


Tex
 

mrj

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Tommy, who do you think the Federation members are?

I know there are representatives of many, if not all, cattle groups within a given state. Did you know that?

NCBA does NOT choose the Federation members. Did you know that?

States sending members to the Federation believe their state cattle producers are better served by choosing and sending their members to serve on the Federation. Did you know that?

IMO, supporting the Federation gives states TWO avenues to influence and improve the work of their checkoff dollars, AND the states generally involved are high in cattle and low in consumers, thereby spending more of their STATE share of the checkoff where there are more consumers to buy the beef. Why is that bad?

Oh, BTW, the CBB is STILL the group which decides what checkoff dollars will be spent for, their HALF of the dollar, that is.

I believe they decide ALL projects supported, but Federation may decide WHICH of those projects deserves more of their STATE SHARE of dollars be added to CBB dollars. That actually HELPS CBB, after al

mrj
 

Tex

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mrj said:
Tommy, who do you think the Federation members are?

I know there are representatives of many, if not all, cattle groups within a given state. Did you know that?

NCBA does NOT choose the Federation members. Did you know that?

States sending members to the Federation believe their state cattle producers are better served by choosing and sending their members to serve on the Federation. Did you know that?

IMO, supporting the Federation gives states TWO avenues to influence and improve the work of their checkoff dollars, AND the states generally involved are high in cattle and low in consumers, thereby spending more of their STATE share of the checkoff where there are more consumers to buy the beef. Why is that bad?

Oh, BTW, the CBB is STILL the group which decides what checkoff dollars will be spent for, their HALF of the dollar, that is.

I believe they decide ALL projects supported, but Federation may decide WHICH of those projects deserves more of their STATE SHARE of dollars be added to CBB dollars. That actually HELPS CBB, after al

mrj

Why am I thinking this is sounding so Star Warsy? I am not a Star Wars geek by any means and haven't seen all their movies but it sure does seem like George Lucas covered this one.

NCBA has been getting the checkoff members to pay for a lot of big conferences that NCBA has covered. It seems like we need less conferencing and more action. I just saw on on national news about a
"new study" where red meat is down right bad for you. The CBB needs to focus on these and other issues with people who can actually do something, not just hold conferences with the NCBA. Quality of life has got to be just as important as living the longest and to me that includes steak.

Tex
 

Tommy

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mj...Tommy, who do you think the Federation members are?
Most of them are NCBA members.

mj...I know there are representatives of many, if not all, cattle groups within a given state. Did you know that?

Not all states are represented that way mj. Did you know that?

mj...NCBA does NOT choose the Federation members. Did you know that?

Yes I know that mj, but most Federation board members are NCBA members.


mj...States sending members to the Federation believe their state cattle producers are better served by choosing and sending their members to serve on the Federation. Did you know that?


How are producers betters served by state beef councils buying seats on the Federation board? Some states spend upwards of 2/3rds or more of their share of the checkoff dollar on Federation board seats.

If a state is represented on the CBB board why is there a need for the state to buy seats on another board when the CBB, in your words, is STILL the group which decides what checkoff dollars will be spent?


mj...but Federation may decide WHICH of those projects deserves more of their STATE SHARE of dollars be added to CBB dollars.

If the Federation decides this then what is the state beef councils job? It seems to me that should be left up to each state beef council to decide what projects to spend their share on, not another group made up from all states and mostly from one organization.
 

mrj

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Tex, I may be well behind times in what I watch on TV, having had virtually NO reception till DISH TV became available in our area not all that many years ago. I rarely bother with movies, Secretariat being the first I saw since Dances With Wolves, so have no idea what Star Wars has to do with anything. I think I may have heard of G. Lucas, but probably wasn't impressed.

Conferences can be educational. Costs of them are pro-rated, so checkoff dollars do NOT pay for Policy portions of them.

There are no criteria required for any crack-pot group, even some 'connected' with supposedly respectable institutions, to present whatever they want to call 'research results'. Truth and facts are rarely present regarding 'red meat studies', IMO. Even 'red meat' seems to be suspect, as some consider it be mean what I would call luncheon meats, some containing those 'evil' chemicals.

CBB has 'focused' on those and many issues with consumers, basing much of that focus on what groups of actual consumers, as opposed to 'consumer groups' (often bogus, or small groups with an agenda) say concerns them about beef.

Surely, you could check the website to learn that far more than 'conferences' are done with checkoff dollars. You do know, don't you, that there are specific rules for spending Beef Checkoff dollars?

Long life, with quality, is certainly possible, even probable, when beef steak is included in the diet. It well may be the 'extra's that we love to eat with that steak making problems for some people genetically disposed to health problems. Along with the stress caused by all the fear mongering studies, IMO.

Tommy, why is it the fault of the CBB, Beef Checkoff, or even NCBA if SOME states' cattle producers did not set up a fair system?

Have you ever seen a roster of Federation members, or CBB members for that matter, upon which to base your assertion? Or do you 'just know' that NCBA members are the majority? I do happen to know that a lot of them have been Farm Bureau members, and I have been told that NCBA does not 'keep score', since it's state groups' decision, not NCBA's. Why do you believe otherwise?

The dollars 'buying' those seats are spent on checkoff projects. I will believe that untill you can prove otherwise.

I believe the states 'buying' seats on the Federation board are those with many cattle and few cattle producers compared with some states with relatively fewer cattle, and more producers so they feel they can get better representation by joining the Federation. They believe that it is a means to choose some projects which their state producers believe will better serve our industry than those chosen by CBB. Maybe it came from a belief among beef cow producers that CBB was being more dominated by dairy producers somewhere along the line, who knows?

The state beef councils DO direct their members who serve on the Federation board. How did I fail to get that point across to you? Sorry, if I failed to make that clear.

Again, you will have to verify for me that allegation of domination of Federation by NCBA members is true. But, if it is, so what? NCBA has long committed to leaving POLICTY issues on the Policy side. It is IMPOSSIBLE to use Beef Checkoff money to pay for the Policy side of NCBA.

If you are so against the Federation, what, specifcally have they done that makes you feel that way?

BTW, get over the myth that NCBA has 'gotten of with' ANY checkoff dollars other than to pay the legitimate costs of contract work. It truly has not happened! Errors have been corrected each time an audit showed discrepancies, including when it was NCBA that got the short end.....and that HAS happened! It just doesn't make headlines with those who live to hate NCBA.

mrj
 

Tex

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mrj said:
Tex, I may be well behind times in what I watch on TV, having had virtually NO reception till DISH TV became available in our area not all that many years ago. I rarely bother with movies, Secretariat being the first I saw since Dances With Wolves, so have no idea what Star Wars has to do with anything. I think I may have heard of G. Lucas, but probably wasn't impressed.

Conferences can be educational. Costs of them are pro-rated, so checkoff dollars do NOT pay for Policy portions of them.

There are no criteria required for any crack-pot group, even some 'connected' with supposedly respectable institutions, to present whatever they want to call 'research results'. Truth and facts are rarely present regarding 'red meat studies', IMO. Even 'red meat' seems to be suspect, as some consider it be mean what I would call luncheon meats, some containing those 'evil' chemicals.

CBB has 'focused' on those and many issues with consumers, basing much of that focus on what groups of actual consumers, as opposed to 'consumer groups' (often bogus, or small groups with an agenda) say concerns them about beef.

Surely, you could check the website to learn that far more than 'conferences' are done with checkoff dollars. You do know, don't you, that there are specific rules for spending Beef Checkoff dollars?

Long life, with quality, is certainly possible, even probable, when beef steak is included in the diet. It well may be the 'extra's that we love to eat with that steak making problems for some people genetically disposed to health problems. Along with the stress caused by all the fear mongering studies, IMO.

Tommy, why is it the fault of the CBB, Beef Checkoff, or even NCBA if SOME states' cattle producers did not set up a fair system?

Have you ever seen a roster of Federation members, or CBB members for that matter, upon which to base your assertion? Or do you 'just know' that NCBA members are the majority? I do happen to know that a lot of them have been Farm Bureau members, and I have been told that NCBA does not 'keep score', since it's state groups' decision, not NCBA's. Why do you believe otherwise?

The dollars 'buying' those seats are spent on checkoff projects. I will believe that untill you can prove otherwise.

I believe the states 'buying' seats on the Federation board are those with many cattle and few cattle producers compared with some states with relatively fewer cattle, and more producers so they feel they can get better representation by joining the Federation. They believe that it is a means to choose some projects which their state producers believe will better serve our industry than those chosen by CBB. Maybe it came from a belief among beef cow producers that CBB was being more dominated by dairy producers somewhere along the line, who knows?

The state beef councils DO direct their members who serve on the Federation board. How did I fail to get that point across to you? Sorry, if I failed to make that clear.

Again, you will have to verify for me that allegation of domination of Federation by NCBA members is true. But, if it is, so what? NCBA has long committed to leaving POLICTY issues on the Policy side. It is IMPOSSIBLE to use Beef Checkoff money to pay for the Policy side of NCBA.

If you are so against the Federation, what, specifcally have they done that makes you feel that way?

BTW, get over the myth that NCBA has 'gotten of with' ANY checkoff dollars other than to pay the legitimate costs of contract work. It truly has not happened! Errors have been corrected each time an audit showed discrepancies, including when it was NCBA that got the short end.....and that HAS happened! It just doesn't make headlines with those who live to hate NCBA.

mrj

I totally agree with you here with your steak points. I just wish more checkoff money would get spent on actual advertisements than good old boy back slapping and what are we going to do meetings that eat up the budget. I don't think anyone contributing to the checkoff wants their money wasted this way.

They should probably get rid of NCBA handling the checkoff dollars and go directly to the commercials on TV and probably funding some study that they can tout (not done by the NCBA).

All of these studies contain bias and you brought up some examples of that but they are touted as why everyone should implicitly eat more chicken than beef. It is just ridiculous but everyone knows there are higher potential margins in chicken for the meat packers than in beef because in beef, up until now but slowly eroding, there has been an actual semi-market for beef while in poultry the market is wrapped up and the meat packers price discriminated on factors other than the actual product all the time to capture and control the value of the farmer's assets that make up about 50% of the capital required in poultry.

NCBA members who don't realize this need to go back to their communities in shame because they are not smart enough to see the bigger game and instead hold expensive meetings all the time wasting checkoff dollars.

Tex
 

mrj

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Tex, there are some mighty big ego's in this world, and I thought Obama's to be the biggest, but yours may top even Obama's!

To hear you tell it, you are smarter, wiser, and more all-knowing than all the packers, all NCBA leaders, and all the researchers except the few with whom you agree.

That just does not reasonably seem possible.

BTW, in your whine about checkoff money spent on meetings, you ignore the fact that many of those attending are paying their own way, as well as paying for costs of the meetings not funded by the trade show profit. ONLY the travel costs and meal costs of the directors of the CBB and the state Beef Council directors delegated to attend, and speakers to CBB functions are paid with checkoff funds. For the record, any alcohol served is NOT paid for with checkoff funds.

Any "NCBA handling the checkoff dollars" is on a cost recovery only basis for costs APPROVED by the proper CBB committee, AFTER those money has been spent by NCBA. If not approved, no refund of costs to NCBA is made.

mrj
 

Tex

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mrj said:
Tex, there are some mighty big ego's in this world, and I thought Obama's to be the biggest, but yours may top even Obama's!

To hear you tell it, you are smarter, wiser, and more all-knowing than all the packers, all NCBA leaders, and all the researchers except the few with whom you agree.

That just does not reasonably seem possible.

BTW, in your whine about checkoff money spent on meetings, you ignore the fact that many of those attending are paying their own way, as well as paying for costs of the meetings not funded by the trade show profit. ONLY the travel costs and meal costs of the directors of the CBB and the state Beef Council directors delegated to attend, and speakers to CBB functions are paid with checkoff funds. For the record, any alcohol served is NOT paid for with checkoff funds.

Any "NCBA handling the checkoff dollars" is on a cost recovery only basis for costs APPROVED by the proper CBB committee, AFTER those money has been spent by NCBA. If not approved, no refund of costs to NCBA is made.

mrj

Is that what happened with the Florida convention? It sounded to me as if the NCBA made commitments that were not approved by the CBB and then instead of having to pay for it, the NCBA changed the CBB leadership.

That just doesn't sound like the story you are a'tellen mrj.


Tex
 

mrj

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Tex, check your facts. Re. the changes in CBB leadership, NCBA is not the source of CBB appointments.

Apparently, some who got caught listening surreptitiously to others' phone conversations decided that wasn't the right thing to do and resigned, for which I give them due credit.

Others were selected by either states or CBB (comprised of people from ALL cattle organizations) to replace those who resigned.

WHich NCBA committments do you reference?

mrj
 

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mj...Apparently, some who got caught listening surreptitiously to others' phone conversations decided that wasn't the right thing to do and resigned, for which I give them due credit.

Are you saying that Ramey and Jones did not have the right to be on the conference call mj? If they had of announced they were on the line everything would have been ok. They resigned because of all the pressure from the NCBA on them and their families.
This was just to take pressure of NCBA about the $85,000 misuse the audit had come up with.
 
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mrj said:
Apparently, some who got caught listening surreptitiously to others' phone conversations decided that wasn't the right thing to do and resigned, for which I give them due credit.



mrj

Apparently if that is a problem with NCBA it would be one more reason for TOTAL separation of NCBA and the CBB...Then there would be no worries about having to get permission of which phone calls they are "allowed" to listen to....

But NCBA doesn't want that because that would take away their "Cookie Jar" access to the taxpayer dollars they have been embezzling over the years...
 

mrj

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Tommy, would you share specifically what "all the pressure from the NCBA on them and their families" consisted of, and which individuals did it?

Document the "$85,000.00 misuse".

Of course, some of you want desperately for your accusations to be true.

They simply are NOT true.

OT, you should know that the reason NCBA wants to remain involved is that they did the work to get the checkoff, and have the staff best able to do SOME of the work.

Why don't you guys get your organization to come up with a superior project to improve beef.... get the documentation proving it is a super food or some kind and you can fund the research and will get paid exactly what it cost, IF all your costs are legitimate. That's how the contracts with NCBA are, and there are times when costs are NOT approved and the organization has to 'eat' those costs.

That is what a 'cost recovery only contract' does.......and the most likely reason the 'whiner' organizations won't get involved and apply for contracts. And that's fine, but they sure have no business criticizing those who do the work and take the lumps.

The cattle producer members of NCBA do NOT want the Beef Checkoff contracts for the money, but because we understand that it can and does help us sell our beef more effectively and gives consumers a better product.

mrj
 

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mj...Tommy, would you share specifically what "all the pressure from the NCBA on them and their families" consisted of, and which individuals did it?

No, but having talked with him and others that know, it happened.

Answer my question mj. Are you saying that Ramey and Jones did not have the right to be on the conference call?

mj...Document the "$85,000.00 misuse".

Don't have to, the audit came up with that and more, misuse or misapproiated funds. This is just exactly why there needs to be a complete seperation of the NCBA and CBB.
The audit is not done yet so who knows what will come next?
 

mrj

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First, I believe NO ONE who does not identify themselves has a right to listen in on a phone conference. No, I do not know why they were not included. Nor do I know or care what the business discussed on that conference was. The sujbect was not the problem, the surreptitious listening in was the problem!

Audits have ALWAYS been done, and differences have been settled. There has NOT been intention to defraud.

Do you know the system used to account for time of each employee is accounted for in 15 minute increments, and by project name, so as to assure accuracy of who pays for what? It is complex due to the large number of projects and of staff. The frequent audits are part of the system to catch any mistakes......on both sides of the ledger!

You have long had a bias against NCBA. So, what caused that? Have you been involved in your state beef council group and with NCBA closely enough to KNOW how they work, and if not, where are you getting your information?

How do you know your 'informant' is being honest about "pressures"?

There are people who were not happy with the passage of the beef checkoff law, and some who later got mad at NCBA for their own personal and organizational disagreements with the majority of NCBA membership who STILL are trying to use the checkoff to harm NCBA. Foolishly, they believe separation from the checkoff will end the Policy Division, too. It won't!

Anyone can apply for a contract, but few do because they KNOW money cannot be made to support their other endeavors due to the cost recovery only basis for contracts involving checkoff funds.

mrj
 

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mj...Do you know the system used to account for time of each employee is accounted for in 15 minute increments, and by project name, so as to assure accuracy of who pays for what? It is complex due to the large number of projects and of staff. The frequent audits are part of the system to catch any mistakes......on both sides of the ledger!

If they were seperate then there would be a smaller chance of misuse or mistakes. It is complex by design so it will be harder for someone looking in to find out.

mj...You have long had a bias against NCBA. So, what caused that? Have you been involved in your state beef council group and with NCBA closely enough to KNOW how they work, and if not, where are you getting your information?
.
I am against any organization that gets over 60% or more of its overhead from the checkoff tax.
I would have to change the way I believe and join the other cattle organization here to be a member on the beef council board here.
Where I get my information is my business MJ. It is reliable, I do not post lies.

mj...There are people who were not happy with the passage of the beef checkoff law, and some who later got mad at NCBA for their own personal and organizational disagreements with the majority of NCBA membership who STILL are trying to use the checkoff to harm NCBA. Foolishly, they believe separation from the checkoff will end the Policy Division, too. It won't!

I for one, am not trying to harm NCBA, I could care less. The only thing I want is seperation. It will eventually happen, just not soon enough in my opinion.
 

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