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The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has formally announced a ballot on the continuation of the statutory potato levy. Ballot confirmed on potato board future

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has formally announced a ballot on the continuation of the statutory potato levy. It will go ahead next month.

The yes-or-no vote on the future of AHDB Potatoes and the work it delivers on behalf of potato growers and buyers will take place from mid-February 2021 for four weeks. It will follow a separate ballot on the statutory levy for horticulture.

The potato vote comes after 8.5% of potato levy payers – equivalent to 176 potato growing or buying businesses – submitted valid requests for a ballot. Under statute, 5% of levy payers are needed to request a ballot for it to proceed.

The AHDB will contact potato growers and buyers in the coming weeks to ensure they are aware of the ballot. Each potato growing or buying business who has paid levy in the 12 months up to the ballot closing is entitled to one vote.

All potatoes levy payers are invited make their vote count and the AHDB is holding a series of virtual ‘town hall’ meetings in January and February during which it will put its case for the levy body to continue.

The AHDB will highlight its delivery record and its new strategy for the potato sector. It is also encouraging levy payers to explore a new area of the AHDB website to find out what they get for their levy at ahdb.org.uk/potato-levy.

AHDB chairman Nicholas Saphir urged all potato growers and associated businesses to talk to us about the AHDB about its work and future plans – either through the town hall meetings or one-to-one with regional knowledge exchange managers.

“We are in no way underestimating the huge variation in sentiment towards AHDB but we also want our levy payers to make an informed decision about our continued existence and what they would lose if the levy was stopped.”

The ballot will be run by an independent company called UK Engage. Once complete, the results of the ballot will be submitted to the farm ministers in England, Wales and Scotland, who will decide on the future of the statutory potato levy.