3 Jul 2009

Rises in farmer levies opposed

12:50 pm on 3 July 2009

Sheep and beef farmers have indicated their opposition to any significant increase in the levies they pay to Meat & Wool New Zealand.

And dairy farmers are demanding answers on how they benefit from levies they pay the same organisation when they send cattle to the works.

Meat & Wool will hold a referendum in August seeking farmer support to continue as a levy-funded organisation for another five years.

It's been seeking feedback from farmers on the services it provides, which range from meat promotion and market support to research funding and farm extension activities.

To keep providing the same level of services, Meat & Wool has indicated it would need to increase levies or supplement its income more heavily from reserve funds.

Those levies are currently $3.60 per head for cattle slaughtered, 40 cents per sheep and 5 cents per kilo for wool.

Chairman Mike Petersen spoke to Federated Farmers' meat and fibre and dairy councils at their annual meetings this week.

Mmeat and fibre chair, Bruce Willis says he would be surprised if Meat & Wool suggested any significant increase in levies in its final proposal, because farmers are not in any mood for that.

Dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie says dairy famers are asking what value they get from the estimated $2 - $3 million per year that they're charged in levies on culled cows sent to the works for beef processing.