The thorny question of what should happen to livestock levies which are raised on Scottish livestock when they’re slaughtered in abattoirs in England and Wales, was one of the “frank and useful” discussion points covered during a high level meeting in Edinburgh this week between NFU Scotland (NFUS) and the new team in place at Agricultural & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
“No meeting with AHDB would have been complete without discussion on livestock levies,” said NFUS president Allan Bowie, adding that discussions on a potential solution remain “ongoing”.
The union’s meeting with AHDB chairman, Peter Kendall, chief executive, Jane King, and recently appointed independent board member, George Lyon, was designed to assess AHDB’s use of statutory levy funds to “drive a profitable and efficient farming sector” forward.
“It is clear we have a shared vision of making our farmers more competitive and efficient and the provision of evidence-based advice, information, marketing support and activity is key to that,” said Mr Bowie, adding that it was also clear that these are difficult times for many sectors.
“Given the statutory levies raised in Scotland for AHDB bodies, it was of merit that we teased out just how these bodies can best engage with farmer levy payers in Scotland, so that they continue to have an appreciation of the levy-funded work being undertaken on their behalf and how that may benefit their business.”
That has to be a two-way communication, he warned, with levy funded bodies needing to be able to adapt and react, should the need arise, to the increasingly volatile world in which we all farm.