Levy payers urged to register for spring AHDB vote

Levy payers are being urged to register now in order to vote in the spring on the AHDB sector bodies’ priorities.

Levy payers in the four remaining AHDB sectors – beef & lamb; pork; dairy; cereals & oilseeds – will get a vote in spring 2022 on the priorities for those sectors. However, unlike recent votes for the potato and horticulture sectors, the vote will not include an option of whether or not to continue the levy.

Under its ‘Shape the Future’ programme, AHDB said the ‘voice of levy payers will be at the heart of everything AHDB does’, and it is urging levy payers to have their say.

Following Defra’s response to a review of how it operates and the service it delivers to levy payers, and the ballots to end the levy in the horticulture and potato sectors, AHDB has made a number of changes ‘to better serve levy payers’, including, it said:

  • How levy payers’ voice is clearly heard, with 5-yearly votes.
  • How decisions on how to invest levy payers’ money are made and how AHDB is held to account for delivery – new sector councils, including ratification of new members, have replaced sector boards.
  • How AHDB’s support feels closer to levy payers and more responsive to their needs – culture.
  • How levy payers can see what their levy money is invested in – transparency.
  • How AHDB as an organisation runs efficiently and effectively – structure, value for money, accountability, governance.

AHDB said: “To ensure as many levy payers as possible can vote (and because the levy in our remaining sectors is collected and passed on to us by processors), we are asking individual levy payers to register to vote. It’s a simple process that should take no more than five minutes.”

For more information and to register, CLICK HERE

“The purpose of Shape the Future is to ensure that our Sector Councils, when they come to make decisions on how to invest levy money next year, can be confident that they have the best, most robust evidence of what levy payers want.

“They will have the quantitative evidence of how levy payers voted (segmented and one-levy-payer-one-vote), plus qualitative evidence from events, group and individual feedback, stakeholder engagement etc. The objective of Shape the Future is therefore not simply numeric (% registration or %turnout), but whether we feel we have got an accurate picture of what levy payers think and want.”

 The voting process:

  • Levy payers must register to vote, it takes a few moments to register online, and the portal is now open
  • In April 2022 levy payers can show what they value most from AHDB by casting their vote online

AHDB stressed that ‘Shape the Future is a consultative exercise on how the levy is invested, but is not a ‘yes/no’ ballot on whether or not there is a levy, or even an AHDB, pointing out that it ‘cannot decide its own existence’.

The current provision, which allows for a ballot to be triggered by a least 5% of persons entitled to vote on whether the levy should continue, will remain in the AHDB Order.

“That is something only the industry and Defra can do. The power to call a yes/no ballot remains available to all sectors,” AHDB said.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.