Nearly half of levy payers to the UK’s key livestock development board have stressed the importance of protecting the reputation of the dairy, beef, lamb and pork sectors as a key component over the next 5 years.
They also want to see the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) support farmers through changes to farm support following the first round of voting via an online survey earlier this year.
A total of 42% of registered levy payers had their say on the priorities for each sector with the AHDB saying it had received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback. The votes were the first following a government consultation at the end of 2021 on reform proposals, which gave the dairy sector more say on how their levy is being spent.
The AHDB provided 3 priority areas for the dairy sector with the marks ranked between 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest).
In the first priority area, the results showed most support (Score 5) for protecting and enhancing the reputation of the dairy industry (72%), which was followed by educating consumers of the future (70%). There was less support for the controversial “We Eat Balanced” consumer marketing campaign (56%) with just 41% giving a top mark for promoting dairy exports to overseas markets.
Supporting dairy farmers to operate more profitably saw Score 5 levels of support fluctuate between 36% for using market intelligence analysis, 35% for dairy breeding and genetics work and just 31% for people working in agriculture and the labour supply sectors. Both the last 2 issues saw the lowest scores with 18% and 20% of levy payers giving a score of 1 or 2.
Improving animal health and welfare received strong backing from levy payers with 71% giving a score of 4 of 5, while supporting the sector to deliver sustainable change was slightly more muted.
4,478 levy payers had taken part in the “very worthwhile exercise”
Will Jackson, AHDB divisional director, said 4,478 levy payers had taken part in the exercise out of 10,5376 who had registered, adding that it had been a “very worthwhile exercise”. Jackson said the Board had been encouraged by the comments and feedback which would trigger discussions and decisions about future work.