Sheep farmers will vote in October whether to reinstate a wool levy to fund industry good activities, five years after they dumped a national levy in a move that forced a restructure of what was then called Meat & Wool New Zealand.
The Wool Producers Referendum, set for Oct. 10, will ask New Zealand’s 17,000 eligible sheep farmers to approve a levy of between 2 and 5 cents a kilogram of greasy or slipe wool. That would raise $4.6 million, based on a levy of 3 cents/kg on 154,000 tonnes of wool, Sandra Faulkner, chairman of the Wool Levy Group, said in a statement.
Meat & Wool renamed as Beef + Lamb after farmers in 2009 voted against an industry good levy, ending funding for the body’s wool marketing, funding and training services.
Faulkner said while Merino NZ, Primary Wool Co-op and Wools of New Zealand represented growers beyond the farm gate, around 50 percent of farmers weren’t affiliated with those groups.
“A positive grower vote, both by number and weighted sheep numbers, is required for the Wool Levy Referendum to be presented to the Ministry for Primary Industries before the minister can enact the necessary regulations under the Commodities Levies Act 1990,” she said.
“The average value of raw wool exports increased by 38% between 2010 and 2014 and our industry is now worth $700 million,” she said.
New Zealand is the world’s third largest wool exporter, supplying 45% of the world’s carpet wool.