After weeks of build-up, the outcomes of AHDB’s Shape the Future vote lastly got here in earlier this month.
For the primary time because the Defra-mandated Request for Views in 2018, levy payers within the dairy, cereals and oilseeds, pork, beef and lamb sectors got the prospect to vote on the priorities they felt had been most vital for their companies.
More than 10,000 levy payers registered to vote and 42% accomplished the survey and shared their ideas.
That would possibly sound like a low turnout, however contemplate that simply 34% of voters took half within the latest native elections. (On the opposite hand, Dairy NZ obtained votes from 57% of eligible farmers in its 2020 levy vote, so there’s room for enchancment.)
See additionally: Meat and dairy status is AHDB levy payers’ prime precedence
The outcomes for the dairy sector had been overwhelmingly constructive, with all the priorities listed scoring at the very least 3.5 out of 5 on common.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the preferred priorities had been advertising centered, with “educating customers of the long run”, “defending and enhancing the status of the dairy business” and the “We eat balanced” marketing campaign all scoring extremely.
AHDB has had success in these areas lately, however levy payers shouldn’t underestimate the substantial funding required to make vital inroads.
Collaboration with different organisations and completely different components of the dairy provide chain will likely be key to future success, and the prevailing advertising campaigns ought to hopefully present a springboard for this going ahead.
I used to be, nonetheless, stunned to see the subject “folks working in agriculture and labour provide” obtain one of many lowest scores, on condition that it appears to be one of many greatest challenges on farms right this moment.
Does this replicate the truth that farmers aren’t prioritising workforce growth extremely sufficient, or do they really feel this subject is healthier addressed elsewhere?
“Improving animal well being and welfare” was additionally on the low facet. Perhaps this can be a symptom of farmers feeling fed up with being bombarded with exterior calls for to enhance their efficiency when many already really feel like they’re doing job.
But nonetheless, the extra technical areas, be it genetics, well being and welfare, or sustainability, will likely be key to the business’s success in future, and it’s important that our levy board is on the leading edge.
This is the place there’s a attainable rigidity – between offering levy payers with what they need right this moment, however making certain the business has the instruments it needs for tomorrow.
In some methods, the constructive response to the survey presents a problem – it’s like asking somebody whether or not they want chocolate cake, trifle or crumble for pudding they usually simply say “sure”.
All of the priorities outlined are vital, however it is going to be very important to preserve a laser-sharp concentrate on the areas the place AHDB could make the best distinction, whereas acknowledging that one other occasion could also be higher positioned to decide up the baton in a selected space.
The most vital factor to keep in mind is that the Shape the Future vote was the beginning of a journey fairly than a vacation spot.
Everyone at AHDB is set to use the outcomes to create a technique that greatest meets the needs of levy payers.
I hope the Shape the Future vote would be the first of many, and that it is going to be the beginning of a fair nearer relationship between AHDB and the farmers it serves.