Growers urged to register as AHDB votes near

Growers are being encouraged to register before 31 March to be able to have their say on how AHDB's levies are invested.

Levy payers will have a chance to vote in April on the services the AHDB will deliver for their sectors in the future.

It follows a government consultation at the end of 2021 on proposals to reform the organisation, following ballots to abolish the horticulture and potatoes levies.

Levy payers in the beef and lamb, cereals and oilseed, dairy, and pork sectors will have their say on how their levy is spent, through a vote every five years.

The first of these votes takes place in April, but they must register in advance to vote - before 12pm on 31 March.

The 'Shape the Future' votes are not ballots on continuing levies, although AHDB chief executive Tim Rycroft acknowledged that the decision of the horticulture and potatoes sector to end the levy sent an important message and is one of the drivers of change.

“We are clear that the future of AHDB levies is a decision for the industry and Defra and the mechanism remains exactly the same,” he said.

Instead, farmers and growers will be asked to vote on a list of priorities in each sector and will be given the opportunity to add others of their own.

Voting will be on the basis of 'one levy payer, one vote', though the sector councils will also be given information on how votes are cast according to scale, along with qualitative feedback from events, focus groups and stakeholder engagement.

Mr Rycroft said farmers’ priorities for levy spend would address 'myriad challenges', from changes to farm support, climate and weather events and input inflation to labour accessibility and the impacts of trade deals.

Source: Farming UK