AHDB proposes rates freeze for 2016

Agricultural levy board AHDB has proposed it will hold all levy rates for 2016 and 2017 at the same level as this year across all its sectors. 

“As you may be aware, the AHDB is going through a substantial change process to improve our efficiency and effectiveness,” said AHDB chief executive Jane King.

“As part of that process we are currently out meeting and listening to our levy payers through our Activity Review. The views that we receive will inform our long-term activities and priorities.”

She added that the body is now consulting on proposed business plans for the coming year. “This year’s overall strategic plan, and the six sector business plans which form part of it reflect the journey of change we are on to deliver even better services for levy payers.”

The consultation comes after a recent reshuffle for AHDB which has seen it introduce a new leadership team. The body’s six industries; Beef & Lamb, Pork, Cereals & Oilseeds, Dairy, Horticulture and Potatoes, are all funded by industry levy payers. As a result, it is important for its members to be involved with activities.

“We have a big ambition to make AHDB a great organisation that makes a real difference to levy payer business. Our funds come from these hard working businesses through statutory levies and therefore listening to and consulting those levy payers and their representatives is very important.”

As highlighted in the Strategic Plan, some key new areas that are being developed by the levy board include:

  • Developing export activity – encompassing increasing pork promotion activity, particularly in overseas markets.
  • Being active in the agri-tech strategy centres – working with the industry in the argi-tech Crop Health and Protection (CHaP) Innovation Centre and Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) through consortium building, establishing robust governance and programme planning, as well as working with the Agrimetrics Centre and Engineering Precision (EPI) Centre.
  • Expanding on farm activity - establishing new pig Focus Farms in regions of England, and focussing on the potato sector.
  • Eradicating BVD – developing a national campaign towards the eradication of BVD in England by working in conjunction with stakeholders and devolved administrations.
  • Volatility – working with the industry in creating ways to manage volatility to help with future price downturns.
  • Increasing international benchmarking – understanding the sectors and market competitiveness, and AHDB’s position in the competitive marketplace.
  • Maximising the impact of genetic improvement – in beef and sheep through delivery of the Beef Efficiency and RamCompare projects, as well as implementing the outcomes of recently completed research projects in both species.
  • Big data – researching and evaluating the potential of big data and utilising it to monitor trends in the UK’s horticultural production.

AHDB welcomes consultation feedback before plans are finalised in January and submitted to Ministers for approval of levy rates.

The levy board is particularly interested in these areas.
1) Do you agree with the proposed activities for your/each sector? If not, which activities will make the biggest difference to improving the competitiveness of your sector, and why?
2) What levy funded activity(ies) in your view could be stopped, and why?
3) Do you agree that levy rates should remain unchanged for 2016/17?

Responses can be emailed to ruth.ashfield@ahdb.org.uk or sent via post to Ruth Ashfield, AHDB, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL. The consultation closes at 5pm on Wednesday 13 January 2016.

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