14 Mar 2014

Hands up who wants the wool levy back

1:30 pm on 14 March 2014

Sheep and beef farmers are being asked whether they want to resurrect a wool levy.

At Beef+Lamb New Zealand's annual meeting on Friday, they'll be considering a proposal to hold a referendum on the issue.

Farmers pay levies on the beef and sheepmeat they produce to fund the work of Beef+Lamb New Zealand, but the wool levy they used to pay was dumped five years ago.

A wool levy review group of farmer and industry representatives says there's a strong case for renewing grower investment in key areas such as research, promotion and marketing.

Beef+Lamb's outgoing chair, Mike Petersen, says the feedback he has had from farmers is that it's time to reconsider a wool levy. If farmers agree, he says, there'll be a levy referendum later in the year.

Farmers are also voting on a proposal to combine Beef+Lamb's sheep breeding research projects and services into a new genetics body to include cattle.

Mr Petersen says he's expecting farmers to support that idea at the current level of funding, to be matched by the Government.

Farmers are also being asked at the AGM whether Beef+Lamb should provide more financial support for the Meat Industry Excellence group campaigning for reform of the sector.

Farmers had up to 3pm on Friday to vote on all these proposals, and the results of the voting will be known next week.