Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey last week responded to the audit report released by the State Auditor's Office for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. "We take audit findings very seriously and have a good relationship with the audit team," says Northey. "We look to them to provide our office with suggestions on how to continue to improve the state ag department's operations."
The audit raised eight concerns about the department's code compliance and the department issued responses to each point in the audit report. The full report and detailed ag department responses can be found at auditor.iowa.gov/reports/index.html.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship issued the following additional comments on each of the audit findings:
Office of Renewable Fuels and Coproducts: The legislature was aware that this program has become non-operational; during the past legislative session Senate File 2088, the Government Reorganization bill, eliminated the Renewable Fuels and Coproducts Advisory Committee. Additionally, the legislation eliminated the necessity to file an annual report.
Organic Nutrient Management: In agreement with the auditor, Northey says he will work to repeal this outdated code section.
Civil Penalties: The ag department did not collect any civil penalties, and as a result did not believe a report was necessary. In future years the department will file a report even though no fees are collected.
Examinations: Although the department does have a lab capable of conducting the required analysis, an independent laboratory analysis of bulk dry-animal nutrient is to be provided with each application for registration of the material. No additional testing by the department's lab is necessary.
Licensing Exam: The state ag department has been working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology to create a national exam for those who service commercial weighing and measuring devices. Northey says the state ag department will implement that exam as soon as it is completed.
Agrichemical Remediation Board: Senate File 467, 2009 legislative session, contained legislative intent that gave the ag department the authority to use the remaining funds in the account for the department's general operating expenses. Northey says his department will work with the Legislature to repeal this outdated code requirement.
Agrichemical Remediation Report to General Assembly: As with the above point, we will work with the Iowa Legislature to repeal this outdated code requirement.
Swine Dealer Licensing: The ag department issues a certificate in place of an identification card.
"We have a good relationship with both the Iowa Legislature and the state audit team and will continue to work cooperatively to serve the people," says Northey.