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Minister Supports Levy for Dairy Industry Good Activities

The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Jim Sutton, has confirmed that he will be recommending to Cabinet that the milksolids levy for dairy industry good activities proceed.

In a letter received by the dairy industry good organisation Dairy InSight just prior to Christmas, the Minister stated he would be recommending the levy proceed as detailed in the ballot paper.

“With this support from the Minister, the collection of around $40 million from dairy farmers for industry good activities such as research, promotion and education is on track to start in June of this year,” says Dairy InSight’s Chief Executive, Peter Bodeker.

The levy, proposed at 3.4 cents per kilogram of milksolids in the first year within a maximum rate set at 4.3 cents, was supported by a two-thirds majority of dairy farmers in the May 2002 ballot. In May 2002, there was a 63% in-favour-vote for levy funding on the basis of milksolids production. When weighted by milksolids production, a 67% majority were in support of the levy. As an interim measure, funding for 2002-2003 has been provided directly by the Fonterra, Tatua and Westland dairy companies.

Dairy InSight is now seeking applications for funding from individual farmers, farmer groups and service providers in all industry good areas identified during the consultation period last year.

“We are casting the net wide at these early stages,” says Mr Bodeker. “There are some very constructive and creative ideas out there in the areas of science, farm systems management, industry support, and workforce development – to mention a few.

“We will be endeavouring to fund projects that have yet to be completed to ensure continuity of results to farmers. Dairy InSight supports the dairy industry’s investment in Dexcel and is establishing a strong working relationship with the Dexcel staff. However, we have had a clear message from farmers as to where they see their priorities and we will be taking these into account as funding decisions are made.

Application forms are available on the website www.dairyinsight.co.nz from Friday 17 January. There will also be an extensive information campaign to ensure that everyone in the industry is fully aware of the opportunities available from the milksolids levy.

This round of applications for dairy industry good funding will close at 5.00pm on Monday, 17 February 2003. No late applications can be accepted and there will not be a further funding round until the end of 2003 at the earliest. Applicants will receive notification of the result as quickly as possible and funds will be available from 1 June, 2003, once the levy begins to operate.

For more information contact: Peter Bodeker, Chief Executive Officer, Dairy InSight Mobile: 025 998 328 Ph: 04 471 8674 Email: peter.bodeker@dairyinsight.co.nz

Background on applications: Application forms and additional information is available from Dairy InSight, P O Box 417, Wellington or on Dairy InSight’s website www.dairyinsight.co.nz. Applicants may also complete the form online. Additional forms can be downloaded from the website. Applications close at 5.00pm, Monday 17 February 2003. No late applications can be accepted for consideration of funding at 1 June, 2003.




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