LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS PAN RED TAPE
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