Beef + Lamb pro­poses in­crease in levies

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming -

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) launched con­sul­ta­tion on a pro­posal to in­crease sheep­meat and beef levies to ac­cel­er­ate in­vest­ment in a range of key pro­grammes on June 7.

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.

The ad­di­tional levies would be in­vested in 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.

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

“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.

“Fol­low­ing feed­back from farm­ers about what is im­por­tant and what sup­port farm­ers need, B+LNZ has de­vel­oped a new strat­egy, re-or­gan­ised our struc­ture and re­fo­cused re­sources to com­bat these chal­lenges, and re­alise our op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“So far this year, we have launched a range of ini­tia­tives aimed at po­si­tion­ing the sec­tor for the fu­ture in­clud­ing a re­port on al­ter­na­tive pro­teins, the Taste Pure Na­ture ori­gin brand and Red Meat Story and a new En­vi­ron­ment Strat­egy.

“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.”

“This in­cludes investing more in the roll-out of Taste Pure Na­ture. The ad­di­tional funds would be used to sup­port greater tar­geted pro­mo­tion in key mar­kets such as the United States and China to cap­ture more value for farm­ers be­fore al­ter­na­tive pro­teins gain trac­tion and our com­peti­tors ce­ment their po­si­tions.

“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.”

The M. Bo­vis in­cur­sion and phased erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme is a con­cern for farm­ers and B+LNZ has lifted its sup­port to farm­ers with ad­di­tional re­sources and ad­vice.

“Along­side this re­sponse, it is clear that ex­tra in­vest­ment is re­quired to strengthen B+LNZ’s ca­pa­bil­ity to bet­ter as­sess biose­cu­rity risks, drive im­prove­ments in NAIT, and help farm­ers im­prove their on-farm biose­cu­rity sys­tems.

Mr Mor­ri­son says the ad­di­tional in­vest­ment be­ing sought by B+LNZ falls within the range sup­ported by farm­ers in the B+LNZ Com­mod­ity Levies Act ref­er­en­dum in 2015.

“The launch of the con­sul­ta­tion to­day re­flects our com­mit­ment stated in 2015 to go back to farm­ers in the event we wished to in­crease the levies.”

B+LNZ Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Sam McIvor says the pro­posed levies in­crease would raise just over $4 mil­lion to in­vest on farm­ers’ be­half in the pri­or­ity ar­eas.

“We have repri­ori­tised re­sources over the last two years, al­low­ing us to save ap­prox­i­mately $1.4 mil­lion. 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 from June 7 to July 13. Con­sul­ta­tion packs will be ar­riv­ing soon. Farm­ers can share their views at www.beeflambnz.com/levy2018, by at­tend­ing one of the lo­cal meet­ings around the coun­try, or by con­tact­ing B+LNZ on en­quiries@beeflambnz.com or 0800 233 352.

If adopted, the changes would take ef­fect from 1st Oc­to­ber 2018.

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