GAO recommends consistency among 22 check-off programs

The Government Accountability Office has issued a list of five recommendations for the 22 check-off programs that do research and promotion on behalf the commodities they represent.  The programs – overseen by USDA’s Ag Marketing Service – are behind ad campaigns like “Got milk?”, “The Incredible, Edible Egg” and “Pork: The Other White Meat”.

Among other things, the GAO recommends more consistent review and oversight of subcontracts administered by checkoffs.  It also recommends developing consistent methodology for evaluating the economic benefits of checkoff funded programs.  The GAO says key documents of each of the checkoff boards, such as bylaws and annual reports, should be posted to checkoff websites.

The GAO report was done at the request of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from California.  Last year, checkoff funds totaled more than $885 million.

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