Farm­ers get a chivvy re the levy

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By STEW WADEY

Lamb­ing is now un­der way on many sheep and beef farms in our dis­trict. Dairy­ing cer­tainly has a high me­dia pro­file right now – one could say for not the right rea­sons – but sheep and beef farm­ing is still the largest agri­cul­tural pri­mary pro­duc­tion in­dus­try in the Waikato provin­cial re­gion of Fed­er­ated Farm­ers.

The sheep and beef in­dus­try is work­ing pos­i­tively through the many chal­lenges it is pre­sented with. Num­ber one, of course, is far­m­gate re­turns.

Many will know the dairy in­dus­try levy body DairyNZ is in place un­der the Com­mod­ity Levy Act, with Beef + Lamb New Zealand be­ing the levy body for the dry stock in­dus­try.

With DairyNZ, all dairy farm­ers are au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­tered to have a farmer­a­greed levy de­ducted per kilo­gram of milk solids pro­duced, not so with Beef + Lamb.

A levy is paid by farm­ers ev­ery time they present sheep or beef an­i­mals for pro­cess­ing, but they have to reg­is­ter them­selves as levy pay­ers if they wish to be part of the demo­cratic process of their in­dus­try levy body.

There are many farm­ers not reg­is­tered, even though they pay a com­pul­sory levy for in­dus­try good ini­tia­tives. That also in­cludes dairy farm­ers as the dairy in­dus­try puts a sig­nif­i­cant amount of red meat into the ex­port com­mod­ity pool.

Beef + Lamb ge­netic gain in­vest­ments en­sure we meet con­sumer pref­er­ences and im­prove meat qual­ity and yield. Such ini­tia­tives con­trib­ute di­rectly to im­proved on-farm prof­itabil­ity.

The im­por­tant ques­tion I ask of meat pro­duc­ing farm­ers in our lo­cal area, ‘have you reg­is­tered with Beef + Lamb NZ?’.

I and other Fed­er­ated Farm­ers elected lead­ers have for many years urged the meat in­dus­try to reg­is­ter sup­pli­ers au­to­mat­i­cally to Beef + Lamb.

Meat pro­ces­sors, how­ever, are very re­luc­tant to give sup­plier in­for­ma­tion for that to hap­pen, cit­ing the 1993 Pri­vacy Act as an ex­cuse.

Dairy In­dus­try pro­ces­sors seem to have no prob­lem reg­is­ter­ing farmer sup­pli­ers of raw milk with DairyNZ.

Stew Wadey

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