I’m sure that many of you are tired by now of the seemingly endless stream of consultations which are coming along at the moment.
However, it does seem like there is a lot of change going on in our industry, and we need to have our say about the future. The latest in the round of consultations concerns the future of our levy board, the AHDB.
A range of views
From speaking to members, I know there is a range of views about the work of the AHDB and the value it delivers for levy payers. But one thing I think we all agree on is that it is absolutely right that levy payers have a regular say on how their money is spent, so this opportunity is very welcome.
We have already seen the horticultural sector trigger a ballot and vote to disband the levy for their sector because they felt it wasn’t working.
I don’t think many dairy farmers would disagree with the concept of a levy, but they do want to have a greater say on how it is spent.
Signing up necessary
AHDB are now starting the process of getting people signed up to have their say. This may sound strange that you need to sign up, but because of the way the levy is collected from dairy farmers (via the processor) they don’t always have everyone’s details.
So therefore, please take to the time to register and make sure you have your say: Shape the Future of farming - vote on the work AHDB delivers for you | AHDB.
We don’t yet know what the exact questions will be in the spring, but we are expecting that farmers will have to outline their priorities for AHDB’s work over the next five years.
In the meantime, I would urge you to make time to find out a little bit more about what the AHDB do across our sector. Sitting on the NFU Dairy Board, I am lucky enough to hear and see a lot of what the AHDB do, but I know that getting all these messages out to busy dairy farmers is hard work.
In order to prioritise work, we need to understand what is currently done, and therefore what needs to change.
Listening and responding
The AHDB have become better at listening and responding to the needs of farmers – the recent marketing campaigns in response to Covid-19 and challenges from the anti-livestock agendas have been testament to that.
This kind of flexibility has been crucial in adding more value for levy payers and that mindset needs to continue for the AHDB prove itself to levy payers.
Shaping the future
I am hopeful that the process in the spring will allow farmers to feel that they have shaped the AHDB’s future properly and the outcome is honoured and actioned. So whatever your views, make sure you have your say.