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Farmers should check they are registered for referendum vote

Farmers encouraged to check they are registered with Beef + Lamb New Zealand for referendum vote

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is encouraging farmers to check they are registered to vote in the sheep and beef levy referendum that will be held later this year.

All sheep, beef and dairy farmers will be able to vote on continuing to invest in programmes run by B+LNZ, which are designed to support a confident sector with improved farm productivity, profitability and performance.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion said it’s important that famers ensure they are on the roll and that their details are up to date.

“Farmers often think they are automatically registered on the database, but that’s not the case. Even if you have processed stock and paid a levy, you still need to register. That can be done by calling us on 0800 BEEFLAMB 0800 233 352 or by visiting the website http://www.beeflambnz.com/register.”

A date has yet to be set for the levy referendum, but it will be later in the year.

B+LNZ is funded and directed by farmers via a levy paid on all sheep, beef and dairy cattle processed in New Zealand. This is why it’s important that all farmers register to have their say in the future of the organisation. B+LNZ invests on their behalf and supports sheep, beef and dairy farmers’ collective interests relating to sheep meat and beef production domestically and overseas. B+LNZ supports farmers with a wide range of activities and last year ran 356 farmer events countrywide, with over 17,000 attendees.

Under the Commodity Levies Act farmers vote every six years on whether the organisation should continue. The proposed levy rates for the 2016-22 period will be defined as part of the referendum offer. B+LNZ will carry out extensive engagement, including a country-wide roadshow in advance of the vote.

Dr Champion said that in the last six years, B+LNZ had developed an extensive grassroots network, including regional farmer councils and farmer advisory groups, to ensure all programmes were shaped by farmers for farmers. There are also six elected farmer directors on the B+LNZ board.

“The structure of the organisation has changed very significantly since the last vote to enable farmers to have a far stronger say in the products and services they want us to provide and deliver in their regions. Farmer advisory groups also specifically work to guide our activity in areas such as research and development and the environment,” he said.

“Our ongoing canvassing has established that there is strong support among beef and sheep farmers for a levy-funded farmer organisation.

“The levy referendum is entirely about continuity of business. By law, we need a ‘yes’ vote to continue our work on behalf of farmers. A ‘no’ vote would mean that B+LNZ would be wound down and all the programmes carried out on behalf of farmers by B+LNZ would end.”

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