From 1 October 2018, the levy for sheepmeat will increase 10 cents to 70 cents per head and the beef levy by 80 cents to $5.20 per head.
This represents 0.4% of the average slaughter value for prime steer/heifers, 0.7% cull dairy cows, 0.7% of lambs, and 1.1% of mutton over the last three years. To implement the increase, B+LNZ will be publishing the change in September, informing meat processing companies of the rise, and advertising the change to farmers over the coming weeks.
The additional levies are expected to be invested in accelerating four key programmes: the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story; helping the sector lift its environmental performance and reputation; telling the farmer story better; and strengthening B+LNZ’s capability to address biosecurity risks.
Andrew Morrison, B+LNZ chairman, said 63% of respondents backed an increase.
“We were pleased by the level of interest in the proposal and the amount of detail we received in the submission forms,” he said. “Along with 63% of respondents backing an increase overall, there were also similar levels of support across sheep, cattle and dairy farmers. This is particularly pleasing as B+LNZ takes its responsibilities towards all levy payers extremely seriously.”
Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) also indicated support for the strategic direction of B+LNZ.
“Feedback from farmers showed widespread support for the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the organisation’s new environment strategy,” said Morrison. “However, farmers also encouraged B+LNZ to work collaboratively across the sector to ensure there wasn’t a duplication of effort.”
While many farmers endorsed the additional investment proposed by B+LNZ, others indicated that they were concerned about potential cost pressures for the sector too.
“We’re aware that, for some farmers, their costs are increasing and that there is uncertainty around the impacts of Mycoplasma bovis and what their share of the phased eradication cost will be,” he added. “In making this decision, we’ve considered farmers’ concerns carefully. Even though we had a clear mandate from the 2015 referendum to increase levies, we committed to coming back to farmers to ensure they backed the direction we were heading in. We’ve listened to the valuable feedback that farmers have given us and we’ll be working hard to ensure that the results of this additional investment will deliver benefits for our industry.”