|Public Release Date: August 20, 1998||No. 98-47|
The Department of Agriculture is responsible for administering programs that promote agriculture, family farming, and conservation practices. The department encourages the development of agricultural markets, both nationally and internationally. It is also responsible for enforcing laws related to food production and safety. The current commissioner is Gene Hugoson who was appointed on July 1, 1995.
Our audit scope included license and fee revenue, loan programs, payroll, administrative expenditures, claims and grant expenditures for the period July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1997.
We found that the department designed internal controls to provide reasonable assurance that revenues, expenditures, and loans were authorized, safeguarded, and properly recorded on the statewide accounting system (MAPS). However, we made some recommendations for improvement in agency procedures. The department needs to improve control over its billing procedures and promptly deposit of receipts. In addition, the Dairy Section operated in a deficit in fiscal year 1997 and, to alleviate the shortage, the department billed Grade A Dairy inspection fees early. We also noted that the Statutory Review Committee did not formally authorize county allocations of Best Management Practice Loans. The department also needs to tighten payroll system access controls and improve review of payroll reports. Finally, we determined that the department has not resolved a prior audit finding regarding federal reimbursement to state accounts for expenditures paid on behalf of their federal programs.
The department agreed with the audit report's findings and recommendations. They indicate that they have resolved, or are developing plans to resolve, all of the issues raised during the audit.