Beef + Lamb New Zealand is urging farmers to have their say before voting closes for its referendum.
Farmers have until 6 July to get postal votes in the mail and until midday on 9 July to cast their votes online.
The outcome of the voting will decide whether B+LNZ continues to exist, funded by levies on sheepmeat and beef.
All eligible farmers have been sent voting packs and B+LNZ Chairman Andrew Morrison urged all those who have not already voted to do so.
“Even if you’ve realised you’re not registered on the B+LNZ electoral roll, there’s still time to register and vote.
“I know it’s a busy time for farmers, however I encourage all those still to vote to get onto it as soon as possible or risk missing out on having their say. This is not the time for apathy. The more farmers that vote, the stronger our mandate is domestically and internationally.
“I’m also asking farmers to really think about the future and what lies ahead when voting. These are challenging times and it is critical that an industry good organisation such as ours continues to exist.
“We’re here to provide a collective voice for sheep and beef farmers, represent their needs and views, invest in essential research, advocate for and protect our precious market access, and ensure our unique red meat story is clearly told across the globe.”
The voting packs contain information outlining how farmers’ levies will be invested over the next six years. This includes rolling out a new free farm plan covering water, climate change, biodiversity and soils.
Investments will be made in genetics to improve farmers’ productivity and to support them to manage their environmental footprint. There is also a strong focus on attracting people to the sector and retaining talent, and expanding the Taste Pure Nature country of origin brand across global markets.
“A ‘no’ result resulting in no sheepmeat or beef levy would mean there would be no organisation solely dedicated to working on behalf of sheep and beef producers.
“We regularly canvas farmers’ views and advocacy consistently heads the list of important B+LNZ functions that farmers tells us they value.
“I am a farmer and I believe passionately that farmers are at our most powerful and effective when we work together through an industry-good body. I firmly believe there is an exciting future for our industry and a renewed mandate from farmers will see B+LNZ pressing ahead with our robust and ambitious plan to help achieve that.”
As part of the referendum, sheep owners are also being asked to vote on a specific question about a small proposed increase in the sheepmeat levy, from 70c to 75c per head from 1 October this year.
Mr Morrison said this was based on feedback from sheep farmers who have called for greater investment in research into key areas, particularly the control of internal parasites and facial eczema. To minimise the increase, B+LNZ plans to use reserves and to leverage government funding.
To register on the B+LNZ electoral roll, farmers need to own sheep or cattle (including dairy cattle) and register online at www.beeflambnz.com/register – the process will only take a few minutes. They’ll then receive an email from Electionz.com enabling them to vote online.
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Katie Jans on firstname.lastname@example.org or 027 838 6353