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Ministers approve AHDB levy rate rises

7th Feb 2024 / By Alistair Driver

Ministers in Defra and the Devolved Administrations have approved a 20% increase in the pork levy from April, alongside levy rate hikes acoss AHDB’s other theee sectors. 

AHDB logo  1The increases will see the overall pork levy rate rise from £1.05p/pig to £1.26/pig. The producer and processor rates will be raised in line with current proportions, so the producer levy would increase from 85p to £1.02 and the processor levy would go up from 20p to 24p.

AHDB Pork Sector chair Mike Sheldon said the hike would raise about a further £1.5m, taking the total pork sector budget to around £8.6 million.

The new rates will be implemented from April 2024. AHDB said this will allow it to maintain its focus on delivering the objectives set out in the Sector Plans, published in November 2022.

This will be the first levy rise in the pork sector since 1996, while there has been no increase to the levy in the Beef & Lamb and Cereals & Oilseeds sectors for more than 10 years and no change in over 20 years for Dairy. AHDB said the spending power of levy funds over the past decade has been reduced by up to 40%, largely due to inflation.

AHDB chair

The Government has also agreed that Nicholas Saphir will serve a further 12 months as AHDB chair, meaning he will remain in the role until March 31, 2025.

Mr Saphir said: “We are pleased Ministers have approved the proposals, which will ensure the levy continues to support the work AHDB has committed to prioritising for farmers and processors across all the sectors we serve.

“The new rates will allow us to enhance our key activity whether, for example, that involves growing export opportunities or exploring further marketing campaigns in the Beef and Lamb, Dairy and Pork sectors as well as increasing our research offering to Cereals and Oilseeds producers.

“Levy payers can be assured that our commitment to helping them navigate through an unprecedented period of change for the industry is secure and we will continue to listen to their feedback to ensure we are delivering real value for money.”

Consultation

AHDB recommended the increases for the Beef and Lamb, Cereals and Oilseeds, Dairy and Pork sectors to Ministers in December, after informal consultation with levy payers over the autumn, which culminated in a livestream event where levy payers could ask their questions about the levy increase.

There were mixed views among pork levy payers about the proposed increases during the discussions, with some accepting the increase was necessary to enable AHDB to maintain and improve the services it provides and others opposed on the basis that they did not want to see further deductions from the value of their pigs.

Mr Sheldon explained that AHDB needs to increase the levy to maintain and enhance the services it delivers across its priority areas – exports, domestic marketing and industry reputation.

He highlighted, for example, that the return on AHDB’s domestic marketing spend is starting to dwindle, but said by investing more, it can deliver better ‘bang for levy payers’ buck’.

Approved changes to levy rates from April 2024

Beef and Lamb (levy rate last set in 2011) Cattle (excluding Calves)

  • Producer – £4.05 to £5.06/head of cattle
  • Slaughterer/Exporter – £1.35 to £1.69/head of cattle

Calves

  • Producer – £0.08 to £0.10/head of cattle
  • Slaughterer/Exporter – £0.08 to £0.10/head

Lamb

  • Producer – £0.60 to £0.75/head of sheep
  • Slaughterer/Exporter – £0.20 to £0.25/head of sheep

Cereals and Oilseeds (levy rate last set in 2011)

  • Cereal grower – 46.00p/tonne to 58p/t
  • Cereal buyer – 3.80p/t to 4.80p/t
  • Cereal processor (human/industrial) – 9.50p/t to 12p/t
  • Cereal processor (feed) – 4.60p/t to 5.80p/t
  • Oilseeds – 75 p/t to 94 p/t

Dairy (set more than 20 years ago)

  • Dairy farmer – 0.06p/litre to 0.08p/l

Pork (levy rate last set in 1996)

  • Pig producer – £0.85 to £1.02
  • Pig processor – £0.20 to £0.24