The milksolids levy has been part of New Zealand dairy farming for 17 years. Its roots are in funding research and development that enable us to continue thriving as farmers in an ever-changing world.
Through DairyNZ, the levy now delivers a much broader range of industry-good activities. For every $1 dairy farmers invest, the Government and other organisations co-invest a further $1.80.
The return on that investment is even better: an independent economic evaluation of DairyNZ’s key investments showed at least $15 of value for each $1 paid through the levy. This value includes costs that have been reduced through DairyNZ’s advocacy work.
DairyNZ isn’t just focused on putting more money in farmers’ pockets, through improved productivity and efficiency (e.g. our investment in animal genetics and the Forage Evaluation Index). Our policy and advocacy teams have successfully engaged with Government to limit restraints and proposed costs for farmers. Significant wins include He Waka Eke Noa and our sector agreement to keep agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme. These will save farmers over $5 billion during the next 30 years.
Through farmer education programmes, DairyNZ is also helping to reduce injuries and fatalities on farms, while the TB programme has minimised trade constraints and the costs of managing affected herds and cull cows.
Why do I believe in the levy?
I believe in an organisation that exists to work exclusively for dairy farmers. Not many sectors have an industry-good organisation like ours. DairyNZ has helped us achieve huge success so far, and it’s a real strength for our future.
I see particular value in how the levy is used to support farmers – whether it’s providing expert advice during and after the recent Southland floods; researching the benefits of plantain for reducing nitrate leaching; or representing dairy farmers at the Beehive to advocate for practical, science-based solutions to improve water quality.
Dairy is our nation’s biggest income earner but with that influence comes a greater focus on our sector and its sustainability. For example, we’re currently facing regulatory changes, staff shortages, and public perception challenges. How we respond and find solutions to these issues is vital – and that’s where DairyNZ has your back.
DairyNZ maximises every levy dollar, reinvesting it into research and development for better farm systems, environmental management, animal care and workplaces; as well as biosecurity, public perception and education programmes, to name a few.
So, while you focus on producing milk and looking after your land, animals and people, you can be confident that we’re working tirelessly to support your future.
Have your say
I encourage all levy-paying dairy farmers to vote when you receive your pack in the post this month. Don’t forget to remind your neighbours too – we want as many dairy farmers to vote as possible, by May 30.
This is your levy, your vote and your future.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy April 2020