Ask AHDB – Cereals and Oilseeds Levy Increase Proposals

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AHDB’s Cereals and Oilseeds Sector Council would like your questions about proposals to improve services and deliver more by increasing levy rates from the start of the 2024/25 financial year.

Sector Chair Tom Clarke will be taking part in a Q and A session, responding to questions from levy payers, at AHDB’s ‘Funding Your Future’ livestream event on 9 November.

Tom is a fourth-generation fenland farmer growing around 180Ha of winter and spring milling wheat, along with 40Ha of linseed for seed. He also grows spring oats as part of his rotation. Tom has been on the NFU Sugar Board since 2018.

You can find out details of the proposals for the Cereals and Oilseeds Sector here: Funding Your Future 2023 – Cereals & Oilseeds | AHDB

The Sector Council are proposing an increase in levy rates to:
  • Increase independent research
  • Improve services such as Recommended Lists and RB209
  • Increase farmer-to-farmer learning through Strategic Farms
  • Set ground rules for developing carbon and biodiversity markets
  • Provide impartial analysis to earn recognition for environmental progress across the industry
  • Test and assess the impact of a wider range of products, such as bio-stimulants
The Cereals and Oilseeds Live Q and A session will start at 10:00 GMT on 9 November. Any questions not responded to on the day will be answered after the event and shared in this thread.


Chris F

Staff Member
We’re working with AHDB to get as many questions from farmers regarding the proposed levy increases in each of the 4 sectors. As per the Defra Q&A threads we have run before, these will run with the same aims. This thread is only for questions, all commentary will be deleted.

Please read all the questions and use the upvote or downvote buttons to indicate which questions you agree with as opposed to asking the same question twice. This will allow AHDB to understand which questions are most important to farmers.

The thread is open for questions now and will close at midnight on Tuesday 7th November. The Q and A’s are being held on the 9th November and the AHDB are aiming to answer all questions on the thread after the event if they aren’t covered in the live Q and A. The livestream will be included in this thread and also ran in the header of this section on the 9th November.

Please take some time to read the information relevant to your sector and then ask your questions below.


Arable Farmer
The single biggest impact to Cereal Farming revenue and prospects is the import of cereals into this country. If the government cannot control imports not grown under the same specifications as that of the UK, will the AHDB look to support UK farmers in demonstrating this and look to ways of publishing data on imported grain end use?


Staff Member
Arable Farmer
several questions but all on the same issue that i would appreciate direct answer to

Can AHDB confirm how their CEO Tim Rycroft voted on Red Tractors GFC module in his position on the Red Tractor board ?

if (as rumoured) he was not present at the vote did an AHDB representative vote in favour of it ? who exactly from the AHDB was involved in the ‘unanimous approval‘ of GFC ?

Was GFC discussed / voted upon by sector boards ? if so what were those discussions and what was the results of any votes ?

Did AHDB consult formally with any farmer levy payers outside of boards on GFC ?

What is AHDB’s current position on introduction of GFC by Red Tractor in the future ?

I think there are some fundamental issues of trust between farmers and AHDB leadership and boards that the answers to these questions will hopefully clarify
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Humble Village Farmer

BASE UK Member
do any members of AHDB staff get an income from the AIC, NFU, RT, or any other organisation in the food chain for been one of their board members. If so is this a conflict of interest?
Can I ask a similar question on the makeup of the board please?

How many on the C and O council are 1, NFU members, 2, NFU office holders, 3. Farmers, 4 Others, please specify whether miller, wholesaler etc.

Is the C and O council controlled by NFU?


west yorkshire
Will the AHDB set up an independent grain assurance scheme to stop the RT monopoly and give farmers choice, after all this is in the AHDB’s remit according to government legislation

5. Developing, promoting, marketing or operating—

(a)standards relating to the quality of products, or

(b)systems for the classification of products.

6. Developing, reviewing or operating schemes for the certification of products or of operations connected with production or supply of products.
( taken from gov.Uk)


East Yorks
Why do the Ahdb nearly without fail, presist in over estimating planted areas (particularly wheat) and predict more often than record breaking harvests which do nothing but dampen output prices? Examples include this last year predicting 15.5mt harvest when in reality it was nowhere near, and then recently estimating a 1% increase in planted wheat area which is clearly way way off the mark with the current weather. Looking from the outside it looks to be either done on purpose or total incompetence.


Can we legally give assurance for free?

We pay VAT on assurance when we buy it so should be charging VAT when we sell it even though we do no show a cost on the invoice.

Would having to show the cost of assurance +vat separately on the invoice help with the assurance creep we have seen over the past decades ?

Grass And Grain

Mixed Farmer
Our farm business didn't renew Red Tractor membership in 2023, and so we lost our "earned recognition" status.

We therefore flagged up for a local authority Food Standards inspection which was carried out by a qualified Food Standards Officer.

This independent inspection covered grain handling, drying and storage facilities; HACCP documentation, policies, procedures, pest control, field records and grain drying records. The inspection was very similar to a Red Tractor inspection, yet currently passing this inspection is not recognised as "assured" for supplying grain to the mills.

Question 1. After passing this inspection, would AHDB consider my grain to be safe for use in the animal feed and human consumption sectors?

Question 2.
If it's not recognised as safe, why not?
Or if it is (recognised as safe), are AHDB willing to help get this standard recognised and accepted by the mills. If AHDB aren't willing to help get this standard recognised by the mills, then why not?


Q. Can you (AHDB) justify why you need extra revenue and what will the price benefits be to the producer ?

Q. You (AHDB)finally stopped funding Red Tractor in 2021, although in reality you should never have funded them. Is it now time you worked for the levy paying producers benefit and completely distance yourself from RT and allowed UK produce the same rights as foreign imports?

Humble Village Farmer

BASE UK Member
How much money in total did AHDB pay to red tractor and why?

Did anyone of the other 5 "company guarantors" (owners) give any money to red tractor?

Would you be asking for more levy if this money had not been gifted to a company controlling farmers' access to markets?

Is the money handed to red tractor the cause of the levy increase?
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