Failed SD Certified Beef Program Still Has $104K

In August 2016, the Department of Legislative Audit presented a report titled “Other Fund Information by Agency” to the Government Audit and Operations Committee. Pages 9–12 list 239 state agency honey pots with a net value of $665 million:

These monies are pooled for investment purposes in what is referred to as the Cash Flow Portfolio (sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Cash Flow Fund). A layperson’s description of the Cash Flow Portfolio would be that it is an account where all of the State’s idle monies have been pooled for investment purposes. There is a separate audit report issued annually by our office for the State Investment Council’s portfolios. In this report, this portfolio is separated from the other managed portfolios because it has specific classes of securities and investments that it can be invested in. Generally speaking, these investments are shorter in duration so as to not tie up the available cash flow needed to run the state’s operations [Bob Christianson, state government audit manager, Department of Legislative Audit, letter to GOAC, 2016.08.23].

Among these pots of money making more money for the state is Company 3052, the South Dakota Certified Beef Fund. Held by the Department of Agriculture, the South Dakota Certified Beef Fund had a balance of $104,670.17 at the end of Fiscal Year 2016, down slightly from $108,620.96 during the preceding two fiscal years. The South Dakota Certified Beef Fund was in the red  by five figures in the first two years of the Daugaard Administration, but the Legislature appears to have erased that deficit and replenished the fund with about $140K in FY2013.

That’s odd: after FY2013, South Dakota Certified Beef was generally recognized as a failure. Very few farmers and ranchers enrolled, and Northern Beef Packers, the Aberdeen packing plant that was the backbone of Governor Mike Rounds’s great 2004 brainstorm, had gone bankrupt. The state had erased the beef program’s website by then, and Google finds no current mention of the program on the state’s website.

The old Northern Beef Packers is up and running as Demkota Ranch Beef/New Angus, and we can get their meat at all six Ken’s Super Fair Foods locations. The product does not appear to carry any South Dakota Certified Beef label.

It’s nice that we have an extra $104K sitting in the bank earning money for the state. But I have to wonder: is there some upcoming beef-related function for that money, or could we just close that fund and invest in a couple more highway patrol officers or high school math teachers?

14 Responses to Failed SD Certified Beef Program Still Has $104K

  1. mike from iowa

    NBP is up and running with no state fanfare? First I heard of it.

  2. Porter Lansing

    What was supposed to set South Dakota beef as elite? The ability for a black white-face to endure the wind and weather blizzards while eating medium grade grass and having to be fed supplemented alfalfa, just to put on weight without marble? When chefs across USA are choosing product, that’s not the product they want to feature on a menu. People will pay a premium for grass-fed Kobe style. Put the fund into boutique product and it will probably make a proper payoff.

  3. Robert McTaggart

    Using that money for patrol officers or teachers is noble, but that would just be one-time money. It would be nicer if extra positions are simply funded off of the interest, so that they are long-term.

    Is the beef selenium-enriched? I think there are areas in South Dakota that are enriched in selenium…which is an antioxidant prized in different markets.

  4. Bill Dithmer

    There is no grass fed meat worth paying money for.

    The Blindman

  5. Porter Lansing

    … and, I’m outa’ here.

  6. for good I hope

  7. Porter Lansing

    How’d you get to be old, talkin’ like that, pilgrim?

  8. Dr. McTaggart is righter than right, we shouldn’t use one-time money to pay for ongoing costs because that would put us in a libbie-land French-math world.

    The bigger question is why did the legislatures appropriate more money for this fund? I wonder if we are not reading the books right and it is not about the legislatures or if this fund is used for lots of stuff we just don’t understand. I think the questions should be asked on the recordings of meetings so we could all hear the answers. Mr. Sibby could analyze this data for us and go to Pierre to ask the tough accounting questions.

  9. South Dakota state government has so much money they rat hole it into old programs that have been closed since Janklow. Not this one, but maybe a full audit would be in order. Who is the treasure for the state’s honey pot?

  10. One-time money? Oh no, I have a plan: Each year we go through this list, identify another legacy of failure by Mike Rounds and friends, and cash it out to do some concrete good. That should provide a steady stream of funding into the 22nd century.

  11. Jerry, I would assume the state treasurer tends to these dollars. The Auditor General provided this report.

  12. Robert McTaggart

    I’m not against one-time money to do beneficial things…just not for on-going salaries.

  13. It seems that is why there are all of these nooks and crannies to park funds for a rainy day instead of using the rainy day funds that only exist in their minds.

  14. Back in the day down there I had these libbie neighbors who occasionally seemed to have a small influx of a hot streak at the craps table or the pa got a good paying job for a while. They would have a little burst of moola and then they’d go all hog wild and buy a new car on installment or do something that bound them hand and mouth to keep making payments like they lived on the high hog. Then the burst of moola would go away, and they would have the car repossessed. I think they were on welfare a long time before the bank took their house and the sheriff sold it and a sensible lot moved in there.