NSA calls for beef and sheep levy board to listen to sector voices

23rd March 2021

Following news this week that other farming sectors have voted against continuing their statutory levy (The potato sector voted 66% in favour of abolishing its levy, with the horticultural sector voting 61% in favour of its abolishment) questions are now being raised over the future of other farming sectors’ levy boards, including the beef and sheep levy board in England.
National Sheep Association (NSA) Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “It feels as though any decision over the horticulture levy was being held back until the potato levy was complete, but the vote and opposition against are consistent across these two sectors and it will be difficult for Ministers to do anything but respect the outcome of the vote.
“NSA is a strong supporter of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) - Beef and Lamb and would not want to see the end of the statutory levy in the sheep sector – however, it is absolutely critical that AHDB is seen to listen to levy payers. It has shown it can do this over the last two years with the levy body listening to calls for more investment in trade and market development, and demonstration that work such as ‘Eat Balanced’ does work and is cost effective.
“I would suggest that now is the time for a restructure in the governance of AHDB, to ensure that the relationship and links between the ‘customer’ and the ‘service provider’ are as closely aligned as possible. When the time comes around for a ballot on the sheep levy, I do not want to see a situation where our investment in our sector is put at risk, and we need to be taking action now to ensure the majority of our levy payers feel they are being listened to and worked for”.