Meat and dairy reputation is AHDB levy payers’ top priority

Protecting the reputation of meat and dairy produce and promoting their benefits to consumers should be the AHDB’s top priority in the livestock sector, according to results from the AHDB’s “Shape the Future” consultation.

In total, some 4,478 levy payers took part in the exercise during April, out of 10,537 who had registered – described by AHDB divisional director Will Jackson as an “unprecedented” degree of engagement.

See also: AHDB pledges to deliver better value for farmers

As part of the survey, levy payers were asked, firstly, to rank the importance of a number of priorities suggested for each sector, and then to score the specific work the AHDB should be doing to deliver those objectives.

In the beef and lamb sectors, for example, “protecting the reputation of red meat and promoting benefits to consumers” was perceived as the number one priority for the AHDB, with a score of 4.6 out of five.

This was followed by “increasing market access and exports” and “supporting farmers to remain viable”.

As for the specific actions these producers wanted, enhancing the reputation of the industry, educating consumers of the future, and marketing campaigns such as the We Eat Balanced initiative were seen as the most important.

Pig producers had a slightly different take, viewing “selling every part of the pig for the best financial return” as the top priority, which should be delivered by levy-funded marketing campaigns, at home and abroad.

Dairy producers, meanwhile, said “building a positive reputation for dairy farming and driving demand at home and overseas” was crucial. They also wanted the AHDB to use market intelligence and genetics to help them operate more profitably.

Cereal and oilseed growers also voted for “supporting farmers to remain viable” as farm support changes, as their number one priority, followed by “tackling pest, weed and disease pressures with less chemistry”.

Specific work areas that the arable sector wanted include the continued provision of Recommended List information and soil health advice, such as the RB209 nutrient management guide.

‘Worthwhile exercise’

Commenting on the results, Mr Jackson said to have received nearly 4,500 votes from across the four sectors “shows it has been a very worthwhile exercise”.

“We have been encouraged by the comments and feedback received through this process which will trigger discussions and decisions about our work.”

The newly appointed sector councils will now look at the findings in more detail, and confirm in October how AHDB money will be spent over the next five years.

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