15 Mar 2010

Farmers' feelings on research funding 'under-estimated'

10:44 pm on 15 March 2010

Federated Farmers national president Don Nicolson is warning levy-funded research organisations not to under-estimate the depth of farmer feeling about their lack of profitability.

The main agricultural science provider, AgResearch, is proposing to cut more than 40 jobs, mainly in meat and wool research because of the decline in funding to do work in those areas.

Sheep and beef farmers' decision last year to ditch the wool levy they pay Meat and Wool New Zealand has been blamed for subsequent cuts to a wide range of industry good activities, including research, training and farm extension programmes.

But Mr Nicolson says the wool levy vote reflects farmers' concern about the lack of return from the huge amounts they have contributed over the years.

He says people have under-estimated that depth of feeling and he thinks Meat and Wool's meat levies would also be seriously at risk if farmers were asked to vote on those again.