This is the first time in a decade that dairy farmers have had a say about how much dairy services levy they pay – a levy that funds Dairy Australia’s programs, including research and innovation.
This is an opportunity too good to miss.
Before voting, farmers should carefully review the Information Memorandum, as well as any other related materials, and make an informed decision that is in the best interests of their farm business.
Although dairy farmers are experiencing improved trading conditions, there are continued pressures including rising input costs. Also, farmers alone have shouldered the levy burden for too long.
For these reasons, the ADF board does not support an increase in the farmer service levy. Now is not the right time to raise the levy impost on farmers, considering that we are emerging from an extended downturn.
The ADF board notes that the ADF National Council, comprising State Dairy Farmer Organisation (SDFO) representatives collectively, supports a 20 per cent increase.
However, there is a wide range of views among our state and federated members, with differences across states and even regions within states.
The ADF board fully respects this diverse range of views. In fact, they helped inform our position.
If levy payers seek further information regarding which voting option is best for them, they can also seek guidance from their respective SDFO.
The ADF board agrees that the four areas identified as the focus for future levy investment – labour, policy development, regional services and climate change – are relevant and, of course, labour is a critical issue for the dairy industry currently.
Processors must fund projects that benefit them
We also strongly believe that dairy processors should contribute their fair share to these investments. Processors must provide significant and proportionate funding to those projects that benefit the whole supply chain. Since 2019, the ADF has been calling on them to contribute to the post-farmgate work done by Dairy Australia, with the most appropriate and fairest mechanism being a statutory levy
Furthermore, there are other avenues that can be explored to augment producer levy funds and invest in Dairy Australia’s work, including but not limited to grant funding.
ADF is involved in the development of the next annual operating plan for Dairy Australia.
– Rick Gladigau
In order to fulfil our mandate as the national dairy farmer representative body, the ADF is working to ensure that your levies are spent on activities that will deliver benefit to you. To this end, currently, the ADF is involved in the development of the next annual operating plan for Dairy Australia.
No matter what the outcome of Dairy Poll 2022, the ADF will monitor how your levy is put to work.
Based on the voting options on the ballot paper, farmers can consider whether the current dairy levy, or an increase in the levy, is needed to ensure this investment in profitability and sustainability meets their needs.
The Levy Poll Advisory Committee (LPAC) has proposed four options in the Dairy Poll:
+20pc (this is the option recommended by LPAC);
While the ADF board acknowledges the work carried out by LPAC, as per the legislation, over the past several months, we believe that now is not the time to increase the producer contribution to Dairy Australia.
We believe the LPAC process can and should be improved. As you might expect, much has been learned of the first-ever LPAC process and the ADF will revisit the process with the Minister for Agriculture following Dairy Poll 2022.
In the meantime, we strongly encourage all dairy farmers to vote in Dairy Poll 2022.
For voting information, visit the Dairy Poll 2022 website: https://dairypoll.com.au/home/.
Article supplied by Australian Dairy Farmers.