Sloppy bookkeeping seems to be at the heart of criticism contained in a state audit of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
The audit finds that the department didn’t keep enough documentation, that it disbursed grant funds in a hurried fashion and it failed to follow-up on safety inspections. State Auditor Susan Montee says the Ag Department needs to more closely verify whether ethanol and bio-diesel investors truly qualify for the tax breaks they receive. Montee wants the Agriculture Department to more closely monitor such funds.
Deputy Agriculture Director Matt Boatright says they are. Boatright points out such work is new to the department with three bio-fuel plants just a year and a half ago and 20 now.
The legislature has provided more money so the department can hire an auditor. The State Auditor says internal procedures need to be shored up to increase accountability in all the department’s programs.
The auditor projects incentives to ethanol investors could grow to more than $77 million dollars and more than $284 million to bio-diesel investors.