Our commitment to levy payers

We’re listening

We’ve listened to our levy payers and recognise the importance for change. You told us, in the government-led Request for Views, there’s a need for the statutory levy. In return, we must deliver better value for money, focus on key priorities that make a positive difference to your business and help grow British agriculture and horticulture.

Time for change

The industry is about to undergo significant change, driven by a new direction in trade and agriculture policies, as well as shifting consumer demands. Your business will need to compete against the best in the world, drawing on the latest insight to improve farm performance, grow market opportunities and meet environmental goals.

To better serve you, AHDB will reform. We’re committed to ensuring our services better meet your needs. 

We will continue to update the information on this page as we make progress on our commitments.

Nicholas Saphir, AHDB Chair

Our five commitments to you

You said:

AHDB will:


We want a greater say on
how the levy is invested and better value for money 

We will seek your views on a new strategy this autumn and communicate regularly on how your levy has been spent and the benefits


We want a vote on whether the levy should continue

We will hold a regular ballot on the future of the levy  

Review how the levy is
calculated and collected for horticulture and potato growers

We are working with growers and the supply chain to design a modern levy system 

Structure AHDB around the
key themes of market development and
improving farm performance

We will focus on farm performance and market development at home and overseas, driven by independent evidence


We want a governance
structure that is more representative and transparent

We are currently reviewing our board and committee set-up, with recommendations due by the end of the year

Podcast with AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir

In this episode, AHDB Chair Nicholas Saphir talks about our new pledge to levy payers.

Commitments outlined by Nicholas include a new strategy featuring key areas of farm performance and marketing – both at home and overseas – underpinned with independent evidence, improved communication, a new ballot on the levy and reviews of AHDB’s governance and levy systems.

News: AHDB pledges to reform

Our five commitments in detail

1. We will seek your views on a new strategy this autumn and communicate regularly on how your levy has been spent and the benefits

A draft strategy covering the next five years  was published in December 2020 and shared with levy payers for feedback on the priorities.  The strategy is being reviewed in light of this feedback and will be finalised soon. We are  also putting in place regular communications back to levy payers on how your levy is being spent and what it delivers for you.

AHDB Expenditure and Income 2020/21:


Planned expenditure by sector 2020/21:

2. We will hold a regular ballot on the future of the levy

Defra is working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Assembly to design a regular ballot process for all sectors to build into the legislation under which AHDB operates during 2021.

Ballots on the future of the levy in the horticulture and potato sectors have been held in early 2021.  These ballots were triggered under the current legislation following valid requests from more than five per cent of levy payers.   

3. We are working with growers and the supply chain to design a modern levy system

We have grower working groups assisting us to examine the issues with the horticulture and potato levy systems and agree a modern alternative. Initial work was completed in 2020 and shared with levy payers for feedback in December 2020.  The outcome of the ballots and subsequent Defra Ministerial decisions will determine next steps and whether further work is needed. This work will be completed during 2020 and go to UK Ministers for agreement.  Any changes that are needed would have to then to be built into the legislation under which we operate. If you have any thoughts, please contact:

4. We will focus on farm performance and market development at home and overseas, driven by independent evidence

We are simplifying the way we do things to focus on three key areas of farm performance and market development (marketing and export work) with evidence at the heart of everything we do.

5. We are currently reviewing our board and committee set-up, with recommendations due by the end of the year

A Governance Review Group (GRG) was set up, chaired by independent board member Janet Swadling and including three sector board chairs, (Mike Sheldon – Pork; Paul Temple – Cereals & Oilseeds; Hayley Campbell-Gibbons – Horticulture). The objective of the group is to put forward governance proposals that will reduce bureaucracy and deliver better value and outcomes for levy payers. The GRG worked with external governance specialists, Campbell Tickell, to conduct an evaluation of the way the current AHDB Board worked.

Recommendations and actions being taken from this review can be found on our Governance Update page.  

More information

You can learn more about the work we currently do for levy payers by visiting the following:

Marketing Exports Farm Excellence Market information

For more information on the government-led Request for Views, visit the following: 

Government response to AHDB request for views
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