The State Auditor’s Office has begun an audit of the Department of Agriculture’s Grain Regulatory Services program. State Auditor Susan Montee says the request for the advisory review came from Agriculture Director Jon Hagler in the wake of a grain elevator failure in Gallatin and a fraud case in Martinsburg.
Montee sees this as an effort to review current practices and to come up with ideas for making improvements in the future.
“We’re going to take look at the laws that are in place and see if they’re outdated or if there’s ways that the Legislature should look at changing things,” said Montee in an interview with the Missourinet. “We’re also going to look at other states and see what other people are doing and just come up with some new ideas that might prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
Agriculture Director Hagler agrees it makes sense to borrow good practices from other states.
“In order to be protecting Missouri farm families we need to be on top of our game,” hagler told the Missourinet. “That requires taking a look at ourselves and taking a look at other states and finding out what tools we can put in the tool box.”
Montee insists the purpose of the audit is not to heap criticism on the Department of Agriculture.
“We know that it isn’t something that, with the current structure, the Department of Agriculture could have prevented,” insisted Montee. “They were doing everything that was required of them.”
First and foremost, this will be a cooperative effort.
“There’s always some ways to improve it (current practices regarding grain elevators),” said Montee. “So we’re just going to take a look at that with them and we’ll be working together on trying to come up with some new ideas and a new way of doing things.”
Preliminary meetings have already been held and the actual field work should begin soon.