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Wool Board Makes Positive Steps with Sheep R&D

12 August 2001 PR123/01

Federated Farmers: Wool Board Makes Positive Steps with Sheep R&D & CLA

Murray Taggart, Federated Farmers' NZ Meat & Fibre Producers Chairman, believes that the Wool Board has made positive steps with regard to sheep research and development, Woolnet and the use of the Commodity Levies Act.

"Farmers will be very pleased that both the Wool Board and the Meat Board have agreed in principle to combine their sheep and beef R&D. Having talked to farmers around the country over the last month or so, we know that farmers are generally supportive of this concept," said Mr Taggart.

The Wool Board has also said that beyond its disestablishment growers will need to put in place funding mechanisms for industry good activities such as by using the Commodity Levies Act.

"NZ Meat & Fibre Producers have advocated the use of the Commodity Levies Act for industry good activities such as R&D for several years - we are delighted that the Wool Board has finally acknowledged that the CLA is an appropriate funding mechanism."

"Funding R&D under the CLA will ensure that growers determine R&D priorities and expenditure."

Mr Taggart said farmers still had some concerns as to where the combined sheep and beef R&D organisation would be situated. "We believe it is extremely important that the combined sheep and beef R&D organisation be totally independent of both the Wool Board and the Meat Board with its own funding stream via the CLA. This is the only way that farmers will be able to take control of R&D and ensure that they maximise the benefit they receive from levies collected for this purpose. The CLA will also provide for greater accountability - something farmers have struggled to get from both Boards to date," said Mr Taggart.

Woolnet "The announcement that Woolnet is to be commercialised is also good news. While we agree that Woolnet should not be funded by compulsory levy, we know that some wool growers are interested in investing in the company in a commercial manner."

"The Wool Board should be developing pathways for interested growers to invest in Woolnet," concluded Mr Taggart

ENDS

For further information: Murray Taggart (025) 249-9494 or (03) 312-5769 Maxine Yule (04) 473-7269

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