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Farmers encouraged to have their say

15 July 2005

Farmers encouraged to have their say on plans for 2005-06

Meat & Wool New Zealand is proposing its sheepmeat, beef, goatmeat and wool levies will remain the same for 2005-06.

A series of farmer consultation meetings is being held throughout the country where farmers are discussing Meat & Wool New Zealand's activities and proposed work plan for the next year.

In releasing its consultation document 'Growing the Future - Key Initiatives 2005-2006', Chief Executive Mark Jeffries says the organisation is proposing some additional activities but will fund these from existing resources.

New initiatives include an increased focus on skills and education with more 'gateway' days with school pupils on farms and school visits, completing the roll out of regionalisation programmes and initiatives, supporting the recent gains of beef into Asia, and developing with meat exporters a new market development programme for New Zealand Lamb in the UK and Europe.

Key research and development projects include leveraged investment with Australia on wool harvesting solutions and the Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Beef Genetics Technologies.

Mr Jeffries says Meat & Wool New Zealand is looking for further opportunities to address pastoral research and development initiatives alongside other agriculture sectors including deer and dairy.

"In the first 12 months we have progressed a number of programmes in forage research and disease resistance as well as in areas such as skills and education. Farmers are pleased that we are working with others to integrate and consolidate research previously undertaken as individual programmes by different organisations in the pastoral sector," he says.

The consultation document shows Meat & Wool New Zealand expects a similar level of income from levies next year, at $32m. Two thirds of this will be generated from meat levies and $11m from wool levies.

Forty one percent of levy income will be invested in on-farm research and development and information transfer. Half of the total organisational spend will go to these areas when the investment of New Zealand Meat Board reserve funds in Ovita and other biotechnology projects is included. Projected investment in priority areas includes trade policy $2.8m, farm health and productivity $5.6m; skills and education $1.4m, beef market development $4.8m; sheepmeat market development $6.3m and wool harvesting and technical advice $3.6m.

In releasing the document Mr Jeffries says Meat & Wool New Zealand is seeking farmer input on the planned activities and investments. Directors have met with 15 farmer groups over the past six weeks, and holds another eight meetings over the next month.

"We invite farmers to join us in a series of discussion meetings over the next few weeks. If they're unable to attend they can obtain the document, and either contact their local Director or complete the feedback form and return it," he says.

Ends

'Growing the Future - Key Initiatives 2005-2006' is available on www.meatandwoolnz.com , at farmer meetings, from regional staff or by calling 0800-647-000.

Levy rate (excluding GST) for year commencing 1 October 2005 (unchanged from 2004-05 rates)

Sheepmeat levy $0.40 per head all sheep slaughtered

Goatmeat levy $0.55 per head all goats slaughtered

Beef levy $3.60 per head all cattle slaughtered

(including beef cattle, dairy cattle, dairy cattle but excluding bobby calves)

Wool levy - Shorn wool - 5.25 cents per kg of actual number of kilograms sold, processed or exported

Wool levy - wool on sheep at slaughter - 5.25 cents per kg of the assessed wool pull

Wool levy - dags 2.0 cents per kg of actual number of kilograms of dags sold

Farmer meetings

- Monday July 18, Kurow, 12 noon (prior to ForageMaster afternoon event) Kurow Hotel, 55 Bledisloe St - host David Douglas

- Monday July 25, 7pm Winton, Winton Hotel, 218 Great North Road - host Jeff Grant

- Tuesday July 26, 7pm, Balclutha, South Otago Town & Country Club, 1 Yarmouth St - host Jeff Grant

- Wednesday July 27, 7pm, Masterton, Copthorne Hotel Solway, High Street South - host Mike Petersen

- Thursday July 28, 7pm, Gisborne, Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club, 190 Derby St - host Mike Petersen

Jeff Grant and Mike Petersen will also attend the Poukawa Field Day on July 27 and have a place in the programme to talk about issues facing levy payers, including traceability and animal identification.

Meetings have been held in Canterbury, Marlborough and Manawatu this week.

ENDS

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