Dairy farmer input sought for sector’s biosecurity response levy
Dairy farmers are being strongly encouraged to give their feedback on how the sector will pay its share of the Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) response programme.
After the decision last May to move to eradication of M. bovis, the government estimated the total expected response cost over 10 years to be $870 million. The government is paying $591 million, the dairy sector $262 million and the beef sector $17.4 million.
DairyNZ also announced in December that the biosecurity response levy would be required to pay for dairy’s contribution and consultation would begin in early 2019.
“The consultation on the response levy is now underway and we want to hear from every dairy farmer,” said DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel.
“Eradication is looking achievable and this is a great outcome for New Zealand. Partnering with the government has significantly reduced the costs of managing the M. bovis response, and we are very grateful for the support of the government and the public.”
DairyNZ has posted information packs to all dairy farmers, outlining details of the proposed levy and how it will be collected.
DairyNZ is proposing that the biosecurity response levy is set at a maximum of 3.9 cents per kilogram of milksolids (MS). This will be reviewed annually and, once the costs of the M. bovis response are recovered over two years, the levy will reduce significantly (unless there is another biosecurity response required). For example, an average farm milking 430 cows will pay a maximum of around $6100 per year for two years for the M. bovis response.
The biosecurity response levy is permanently in place, but the levy amount will be substantially reduced once the M. bovis response costs have been paid.
“We understand that the financial contribution to the M. bovis response, via the levy, will be challenging for some farmers. However, we believe it was the right decision to eradicate rather than let the disease spread through our stock. Letting M. bovis spread would have been a more serious challenge and much higher and longer lasting costs,” said Mr van der Poel.
Information about the proposal is available on the DairyNZ website and farmers will be able to attend meetings nationwide during February to hear more and provide their feedback.
“We want to hear from farmers because they will all contribute towards dairy’s share of the eradication programme. It’s vital that farmers ask the questions they need to and know where to go for more information,” said Mr van der Poel.
Farmers have until February 28 to give their feedback to DairyNZ.
For more information on the M. bovis levy consultation, farmers can:
How farmers can have a say:
- An information pack has been sent to dairy farmers containing information on the proposal. Farmers are encouraged to fill in the freepost feedback form enclosed and either post it back or drop it off at any DairyNZ discussion group or regional office.
- The feedback form can be completed online at dairynz.co.nz/GIA.
- Biosecurity response levy consultation meetings will be held around the country in February. Farmers can provide their feedback there. Nine meetings are being held from 18-22 February and will be a chance for farmers to hear the latest about the response, ask questions about the levy and give their feedback. For meeting dates and venues visit dairynz.co.nz/GIA
Background on the GIA Biosecurity Levy:
The levy is a biosecurity response levy under the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA), which DairyNZ joined last year after consulting with farmers.
The GIA commits the dairy sector and the government to work together in partnership to improve readiness for biosecurity events and jointly respond to outbreaks. As a signatory to GIA, DairyNZ has more influence on behalf of farmers in biosecurity readiness and response decisions and activities.
Once farmer feedback on the M. bovis levy has been received, DairyNZ is then required to make a recommendation to MPI. Once decisions have been made, the levy would come into effect 1 June 2019. Under the DairyNZ proposal, the levy would be collected and paid in the same way as levies under the Commodity Levies (Milksolids) Order 2014, i.e. a dairy processor will pay the levy and recover it from dairy farmers.
Dairy cull cows will not be subject to the M. bovis beef levy.