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46441

Federal audit confirms soybean checkoff on track

After an 18-month process the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) review of the soybean checkoff fully vindicates the United Soybean Board, its staff and volunteer leaders, finding allegations against USB were unfounded.

"Ultimately the results show what many of us familiar with the soybean checkoff already knew-that the volunteer farmers who lead the checkoff do so within the letter and spirit of the law," says Jerry Slocum, U.S. Soybean Federation president and a soybean farmer from Coldwater, Mississippi. "What the OIG results tell us is that the American Soybean Association's (ASA) petition was baseless and unfounded."

The OIG review was launched after a petition listing a myriad of allegations against the checkoff was submitted by the ASA in December 2008. The petition launched a myriad of allegations against USB but, according to the OIG report, they "found insufficient evidence to support ASA's allegations."

"I wish I could say this was a good process for USB to go through, but the bottom line is we already knew that USB was acting within the letter of the law," says Slocum in a report from USB. "And now farmers had to spend nearly a million dollars in checkoff funds to respond to this petition. It's money that should have been used for countless better things-from new use research to protecting domestic animal agriculture."

According to Slocum the one takeaway from the OIG review was a recommendation that USB increase its oversight of U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) expenditures. USSEC is the primary contractor for checkoff international marketing programs. USB leaders previously recognized this need and put into place measures that increased that oversight in a contracted dated October 1, 2008.

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