Feedback wanted on biosecurity levy increase
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is seeking feedback from farmers on a proposal to increase the maximum biosecurity levy for cattle from $0.45/head to $2/head to pay the beef sector’s share of the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) response.
“Technical challenges with tracing and diagnosing the disease, as well as issues with the processes involved in the response, have highlighted the importance of the beef sector being part of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on biosecurity so that we ensure the voices of our farmers are being properly taken into account during the response,” said B+LNZ’s Chairman Andrew Morrison.
Farmers will begin to receive consultation packs from B+LNZ on the increased levy, which was 0.45/head when the industry signed up to join the GIA. Morrison explained the reason for the increase.
“Under the previous maximum biosecurity levy of $0.45/head for cattle, it would have taken nearly 25 years to repay the industry’s share of the M. bovis response — estimated at up to $17 million over 10 years,” he said. “By increasing the maximum biosecurity levy to $2/head, we will be able to repay costs associated with the response in a timely manner.”
The costs of the M. bovis response are expected to decrease over time, according to the Biosecurity Levy Consultation paper.
The consultation also includes a proposal to raise the maximum amount payable under GIA to $5 million per year, which would enable the organisation to meet the costs of the M. bovis response as they’re being incurred.
“As we are also not levying cull dairy cows as part of the M. bovis response, we also need to be able to set different levy rates for different classes of cattle,” Morrison said.
B+LNZ stated that while cull dairy cows will not be levied for M. bovis, they could face a beef biosecurity levy in the future for other incursions. For example, a disease that restricted trade in beef — such as BSE — would affect dairy farmers in their capacity as beef farmers, and justify collection of a beef biosecurity levy on cull dairy cattle in the future.
“I encourage farmers to participate in the consultation and share their views on the proposals and look forward to listening to what they think,” he continued.
Farmers have until 7 June 2019 to provide their feedback via mail or online at www.beeflambnz.com/mbovis2019.
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