Sheep and beef farmers will be asked their views on a proposed levies increase to meet future challenges in the industry.

Yesterday, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) launched consultation on a plan to increase the sheepmeat levy by 10c to 70c per head and the beef levy by 80c to $5.20 per head.

If adopted, that would mean an average sheep and beef farm would pay an additional $260 per year, and an average dairy farm an extra $55.

Sheep and beef farmers were facing "unprecedented" challenges including environmental pressures, trade issues, the rise of alternative proteins, biosecurity incursions and eroding public confidence in farming, chairman Andrew Morrison said in a statement.


But there were strong opportunities for beef and lamb exports if the industry was able to tell its story, he said.

The additional levies would be invested in the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story, helping the sector lift its environmental performance and reputation, telling the farmer story better, and strengthening B+LNZ's capability to address biosecurity risks.

The proposed increase was separate to the ongoing negotiations about what the industry's share of the costs of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme would be, Mr Morrison said.

The Government would meet 68% of the $886million cost of eradication, and DairyNZ and B+LNZ would meet 32%.

The incursion and phased eradication programme was obviously a concern for farmers and B+LNZ had lifted its support to farmers with additional resources and advice, he said.

"Alongside this response, it is clear that extra investment is required to strengthen B+LNZ's capability to better assess biosecurity risks, drive improvements in Nait, and help farmers improve their on-farm biosecurity systems."

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor said the proposed levies increase would raise just over $4million.

Consultation would run until July 13. Consultation packs would be mailed to farmers, and meetings would be held around the country.


In the South, meetings would be held in Balclutha, Gore and Winton on June 11, Mossburn and Otautau on June 15, Lawrence on June 25, Alexandra, Ranfurly and Palmerston on June 26, and Kurow on June 27.

Farmers would be notified of the outcome in mid-August and, if adopted, the changes would take effect from October 1.