Farmers to vote on funding DairyNZ
Sunday 27 Apr 2014 4:35 p.m.
Dairy farmers are being asked to vote on whether they want to spend an average of $5000 each to keep funding the work of DairyNZ.
The organisation spends around $60 million a year, mainly on scientific research and training farmers.
At Scott Farm they are researching ways to make dairy farms more productive, while at the same time reducing their environmental impact. It is part of the work that is funded by DairyNZ, from a levy on 14,000 dairy farmers.
"It's hard to get the message out sometimes," says DairyNZ regional team manager Craig McBeth. "A lot of it does take place in quite concentrated work that does take a long time to deliver results, and then communicating those results is a challenge. So farmers do appreciate it, but it is hard to tell the story consistently all the time so they see the full value of it."
DairyNZ is hoping farmers will see the full value of the work, which includes disease control and training.
Farmers are about to vote on whether to continue funding DairyNZ for the next six years.
"It's an investment in the future of the dairy industry, and New Zealand's dairy industry is really our single most important industry now," says DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton.
Dairy farmers pay 3.6 cents for each kilogram of milk solids they produce. That's an average of $5000 per farmer.
"We should be having some sort of levy, but I'd be very reluctant to see it go any higher," says farmer Mark McLennan.
"As much as we don't like paying it, I think that it is a good thing for the industry, and I think it is part of the reason the industry has been so successful," says farmer James Adam.
DairyNZ says the levy will stay at 3.6 cents for at least two years, and it would consult with farmers if that were to be changed.
Voting papers are being sent out and farmers have until they end of next month to vote.