LIVE­STOCK PRO­DUC­ERS PAN RED TAPE

Tasmanian Country - - FRONT PAGE - ROGER HAN­SON

FARM biose­cu­rity is the fo­cus of new in­dus­try reg­u­la­tions for live­stock pro­duc­ers but some farm­ers de­scribe the sys­tem as bu­reau­cratic overkill.

From Oc­to­ber 1 cat­tle pro­duc­ers need to file a Farm Biose­cu­rity Plan to main­tain their Johne’s dis­ease sta­tus.

Sheep, goat and cat­tle farm­ers need to have a Farm Biose­cu­rity Plan in place for Live­stock Pro­duc­tion As­sur­ance ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

The Farm Biose­cu­rity Plan is a seven-page doc­u­ment and one of sev­eral mod­ules pro­duc­ers now need to com­plete on­line ev­ery three years, at a cost of $66, to re­new their LPA ac­cred­i­ta­tion or when ap­ply­ing for the first time.

The LPA pro­gram pro­vides ev­i­dence of live­stock his­tory and on-farm prac­tices when trans­fer­ring stock.

Few in the in­dus­try deny strong biose­cu­rity is nec­es­sary but con­cerns have been raised about ac­cess­ing the web­site and in­for­ma­tion com­ing only af­ter the Oc­to­ber 1 dead­line.

Brett Hall, who runs An­gus cat­tle at Bronte Park, said on­farm biose­cu­rity was now a much big­ger is­sue for ev­ery­body than ever be­fore.

Rep­re­sent­ing the Tas­ma­nian Farm­ers and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion, he is a board mem­ber of Cat­tle Coun­cil Aus­tralia.

“The LPA is in­dus­try-wide and has been com­ing for a while. It gives pro­duc­ers ev­i­dence to stand by what they sell,” Mr Hall said.

Pro­duc­ers need LPA ac­cred­i­ta­tion to ob­tain a Na­tional Vendor Dec­la­ra­tion re­quired for all live­stock move­ments.

How­ever, pro­ducer Bruce Wig­gins from Ran­noch Farm near Nubeena said the num­ber of forms was ridicu­lous.

“It was de­signed by some­one sit­ting in an of­fice who has no idea what hap­pens on the ground.

“Nu­mer­ous times I’ve gone to log on while the live­stock car­rier was com­ing and he’s had to wait. The web­site needs some work,” Mr Wig­gins said.

Stephanie Clark, at Lyming­ton near Cygnet, said the new rules were a huge im­post for small pro­duc­ers.

“I will deal with it but did not even get our no­tice un­til af­ter the launch date. It’s just too much red tape and bit of bu­reau­cratic overkill,” she said.

Mr Hall said the changes by the In­tegrity Sys­tems Com­pany, a sub­sidiary of Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia, were de­signed to en­sure the red meat in­dus­try main­tained its rep­u­ta­tion and to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of con­sumers from more than 100 mar­kets glob­ally.

“About 70 per cent of Aus­tralia’s beef is ex­ported. Tas­ma­nia ex­ports to many coun­tries in­clud­ing the US, Ja­pan and Korea and all th­ese coun­tries de­mand high stan­dards of trace­abil­ity and good on-farm prac­tices,” he said.

TFGA meat coun­cil chair­man Chris Gunn did not think the process was ar­du­ous.

“It was bit of sham­bles how the in­for­ma­tion came out but the work­shop in Launce­s­ton was well at­tended and helped us re­alise there won’t be a lot of ex­tra pa­per­work,” he said.

He said the TFGA was look­ing at run­ning a work­shop in the South if nec­es­sary.

Mr Gunn said there were no right or wrong an­swers to the ques­tions on the form.

“I can only see it as pos­i­tive for the in­dus­try. Pro­duc­ers should de­mand what they are buy­ing, pri­vately or from sa­le­yards.”

It was de­signed by some­one sit­ting in an of­fice who has no idea what hap­pens on the ground BRUCE WIG­GINS

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