Meat & Wool New Zealand Consults Levy Payers

NEW ZEALAND - Meat & Wool New Zealand’s annual consultation with sheep, beef and goat farmers has begun and 12 meetings will be held around the country in the next six weeks to consider the programmes and budget proposed for the 2007/08 year.
calendar icon 29 June 2007
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Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen, said the consultation process was an opportunity for levy payers to have their say and he is anticipating a lot of interest, given the challenges facing sheep farmers, in particular.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for sheep farmers because of poor lamb returns and low wool prices. A priority for Meat and Wool New Zealand over the last 12 months has been working closer with the wider meat and wool industries to help lift returns to all participants.

“The recently announced lamb promotion in the United States is an example of where we have redirected levies to assist in repositioning lamb racks as a premium and desirable product. This promotion will be matched by equal contributions from exporters, and we are confident of measurable returns to farmers.

“For wool, we remain committed to the work that the Wool Industry Network is undertaking in implementing a strategy to generate better returns for what should be viewed as a niche fibre,” Mr Petersen said.

A lower than budget beef kill in 2006/2007 has reduced the levies collected from beef.

Levy payers will be asked to consider the beef levy rate, which is currently $3.60 per cattle beast, and two options for consideration have been presented.

Option 1.

* That Meat & Wool New Zealand maintains the existing beef levy and reduces expenditure by $1.1million across all areas of the business.

The result of adopting Option 1 will include a number of reductions to achieve the break-even budget. These involve discontinuing some beef marketing activity, discontinuing some on-farm beef research and development projects, and reducing beef farmer activities, including cuts in the areas of skills and education, events and publications.

Option 2.

* That Meat & Wool New Zealand increases the beef levy rate to enable existing activities to continue, and provide additional funding for market development joint venture opportunities in Asia.

The result of adopting Option 2 would increase the beef levy to the maximum allowable. That was supported by farmers in the 2003 referendum under the Commodity Levies Act 1990. The increase to $4.40 would be an increase of 80 cents per head of cattle slaughtered, and this would generate an additional $1.874 million of revenue at current production levels (2.342 million head).

The increased funding would allow Meat &Wool New Zealand, working with meat exporting companies, to maintain and further develop New Zealand’s premium beef market position in North Asia. Additional activities will place increased focus on differentiating and positioning New Zealand grass-fed beef within these markets.

Levy payers will have the chance to give their feedback on these proposals at the consultation meetings.

Alongside the meetings, a copy of the Meat & Wool New Zealand Proposed Work Plan will be mailed to all people on the electoral role. It can also be viewed on the Meat & Wool New Zealand website with the details on how and where to send a submission.

The Meat & Wool New Zealand Directors will consider consultation submissions at the September board meeting, prior to confirming the budget for the 2007/2008 year.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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