A ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy for potato growers will be held, AHDB has announced.
Lincolnshire growers Simon Redden, Peter Thorold and John Bratley, delivered the requests for a ballot to AHDB's headquarters in Warwickshire this week.
Requests now need to be validated by AHDB to see if a formal ballot process needs to be triggered, with a threshold of 103 requests from businesses who have paid levy in the past 12 months.
If so, the ballot will be a simple 'yes or no' vote on the continuation of the potatoes levy.
The growers, who call themselves the 'AHDB Petitioners', successfully triggered a formal ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy in horticulture, which will be held in January.
Mr Bratley, a vegetable and potato farmer, said there was a 'significant level of discontent' amongst potato growers.
"In calling for their requests for a formal ballot on the continuation of a statutory levy we are ensuring that their voices are heard too,” he said.
“The whole point of our original ballot in July was to discover the true views of levy-payers and the results were overwhelming."
AHDB Potatoes sector board Interim Chair, Alison Levett said she was 'looking forward to having constructive conversations with growers'.
She said AHDB was looking at alternative ways of calculating the potatoes levy, as it was currently based solely on planted area and did not take into account when crops were lost or destroyed.
The new strategy proposes a ‘claw back’ repayment mechanism for growers to claim in the event of crop loss due to floods, for example, so they are not disadvantaged.
“While we are confident we can demonstrate our investment of the levy has brought tangible benefits for individual growers and the industry as a whole, we fully recognise the need to be responsive to the significant challenges ahead," she said.
“This is a time of momentous change and uncertainty for the industry, in terms of trade agreements, regulations regarding chemical inputs, forthcoming changes to farm payments and public goods.
"In developing the potato sector strategy, potato board members have emphasised the need for programmes of work to be future-focused and increasingly address environmental issues."
She added: “We hope that potato levy payers will reflect on the unique and central role AHDB plays in solving issues that individual farmers, processors or a single sector potato body would not be able to fund.”
It comes as AHDB this week unveiled its new five-year strategy, with a major focus on improving the organisation's accountability and transparency.