New Zealand farmers face increased levies

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

The levies mean sheepmeat will increase by 10 cent and beef by 80 cent
The levies mean sheepmeat will increase by 10 cent and beef by 80 cent
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has launched a consultation on proposals to increase sheepmeat and beef levies for farmers.

The proposals have been put forward to accelerate investment in a range of key programmes.

B+LNZ is seeking farmers’ views on the plan to increase the sheepmeat levy by 10 cents to 70 cents per head and the beef levy by 80 cents to $5.20 per head.

If adopted, the rise would mean an average sheep and beef farm would pay an additional $260 per annum and an average dairy farm an extra $55 per annum.

Any additional levies have been earmarked for the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the proposed levies increase would raise just over $4 million (m) to invest on farmers’ behalf in the priority areas.

“We have reprioritised resources over the last two years, allowing us to save approximately $1.4m. We’ve reallocated those savings to the most pressing issues for farmers. However, to fully realise the opportunities and deliver better outcomes for farmers, B+LNZ does require additional investment.”

The consultation runs until 13 July, with farmers being able to have their say on the proposed levy increase in a variety of ways and outcomes expected in mid-August. Any potential changes should take effect from 1 October 2018.

Consultation packs will be arriving in farmers’ mailboxes in the coming days with detailed information on the proposal and a submission form.

Farmers will also be able to share their views at www.beeflambnz.com/levy2018​, by attending one of the local meetings that will be held around the country, or by contacting B+LNZ directly on enquiries@beeflambnz.com or 0800 233 352.

B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison warned sheep and beef farmers were facing unprecedented challenges, including environmental pressures, trade issues, the rise of alternative proteins, biosecurity incursions, and eroding public confidence in farming.  

He said: “But there are strong opportunities for beef and lamb exports if we are able to tell our story. There is growing demand globally for grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free red meat that consumers are willing to pay a premium for. 

“However, given the scale and speed of change, we believe a modest increase to the sheepmeat and beef levies is necessary so that we can accelerate these programmes. We see a window of opportunity to get ahead of the curve in these areas if we increase our investment now.

“There is also risk of significant regulatory change in the environment space.  This investment will give farmers the tools to make on-farm changes, measure environmental progress and provide evidence for telling their story. This will help us engage with government to ensure they develop sensible policies.” 

Related topics: New Zealand, Industry & Markets, Lamb, Beef

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