Voting packs for the 2021 sheepmeat and beef levy referendum will arrive in farmers’ mail boxes from Tuesday 1 June.
Beef +Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is funded and directed by farmers via the levies, which are paid on all sheep, beef and dairy cattle processed in New Zealand.
Under the Commodity Levies Act 1990, B+LNZ must ask sheepmeat and beef producers (including dairy farmers through their cull cows) if they want to continue funding activities and programmes for a six-year period.
The rates of sheepmeat and beef levies for the levy years commencing 1 October 2019 and 1 October 2020 were 70 cents per head for sheepmeat and $5.20 per head for beef.
B+LNZ’s chairman, Andrew Morrison, says voting runs until 9 July. He strongly encourages farmers to have their say about the future of their levy-funded organisation.
Ag scientists have good reason to keep an eye on what is happening.
Research, market access and market promotion are among the activities funded by the levy.
B+LNZ’s diverse research portfolio supports several projects and larger programmes across animal health, productivity and genetics, environmental health and mitigations (greenhouse gas) and landscape management. The successful delivery of research programmes is ensured by working with internal and external stakeholders.
A ‘no’ vote would halt all activities supported by the levy voted against. Separate votes are held for each of the sheepmeat and beef levy
” … in programmes designed to support a confident sector with improved farm productivity, profitability and performance.”
Research projects are prioritised and evaluated for relevance to the sector based on information derived from various sources including the UMR surveys, farmer councils and the Farmer Research Advisory Group (FRAG) ensuring alignment with the B+LNZ Strategy.
The role of the research team is to ensure B+LNZ delivers innovative and tangible research outcomes so New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers can make improvements to their farming system and business now and into the future.
Farmers get to vote every six years …
“So it’s a good time for farmers to consider all the work B+LNZ does on their behalf to ensure this country’s red meat industry remains world-leading,” Mr Morrison said.
Information in the voting packs explain how levies are invested and B+LNZ is holding a series of roadshow events throughout the country to give farmers more information and answer questions.
“It is a busy time on-farm, so we are giving farmers plenty of notice and I really encourage all levy payers to come along and discuss their organisation with us.
“We know it’s not easy for farmers at the moment. Our industry is facing once in a generation regulatory changes, so farmers need to have an organisation that represents their interests and advocates on their behalf.
“While advocacy is top of mind for farmers, in my many conversations over the last month they’ve also emphasised B+LNZ’s role in research, market access, market promotion, recruiting and training people for the industry, and telling the farmer story domestically – these are some of the issues we’ll be discussing on the roadshow and that are covered in the referendum document.”
Larger events will include a particular focus on areas local farmers have told B+LNZ are of interest.
“Whether that’s our research and development investment, an update on the Taste Pure Nature marketing or on our work in the environmental policy space, there will be something of interest to levy-payers. Head online and register for an event near you,” Mr Morrison said.
Events begin on 8 June. The full list can be read at www.beeflambnz.com/referendum