Life­style farms not ex­empt from scheme

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By IRIS RIDDELL

When Novem­ber rolls around this year, it her­alds the ar­rival of some­thing all life­style farm­ers should be aware of – na­tional an­i­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and trac­ing.

The na­tion­wide scheme aims to iden­tify and trace in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals – specif­i­cally cat­tle and deer – with a unique 16-digit iden­tifi- cation num­ber that can be read by an elec­tronic scan­ner (don’t worry about the scan­ners, you won’t nec­es­sar­ily need them – they’re for the sa­le­yard and slaugh­ter­house use).

This in­for­ma­tion will be gath­ered and stored on a fu­ture data­base.

The new tags will be used with ex­ist­ing An­i­mal Health Board ear tags.

All calves born af­ter Novem­ber 1, 2011 will need a NAIT pri­mary tag and an board sec­ondary tag.

Ex­ist­ing cat­tle with board tags will need an ad­di­tional NAIT tag within three years of the scheme com­ing into ef­fect, or if they are to be moved off farm, which­ever is sooner.

Calves born af­ter March 1, 2011 can have the NAIT pri­mary and sec­ondary tags.

NAIT adds about $2 to the cost of tags and there will also be a levy of around $1 a year per an­i­mal. This is for all live­stock own­ers, from dairy farm op­er­a­tions to those keep­ing a cou­ple of beef an­i­mals.

The sys­tem mon­i­tored with non-com­pli­ance.

De­tails are be­ing worked out at the mo­ment.

As a life­style block owner, you may be won­der­ing what all this has to do with you or why you have any obli­ga­tion to have your an­i­mals tagged.

The ben­e­fits of NAIT mostly link to se­cu­rity for the beef ex­port in­dus­try and trace­abil­ity in the case of a bio-emer­gency such as a foot-and-mouth out­break, and car­ries lit­tle rel­e­vance for the com­mon gar­den­va­ri­ety life­style farmer.

Why, then, should you bother?

NAIT se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser Sus­sana Hooper likens it to po­lio im­mu­ni­sa­tion.

‘‘It’s only go­ing to be suc­cess­ful if ev­ery­body’s do­ing it, be­cause all it takes is one per­son not do­ing it for oth­ers to be in­fected. It’s will fines

board be for re­ally im­por­tant that we can re­spond quickly and ac­cu­rately to biose­cu­rity risks and pro­tect farm­ers’ in­come.’’

Life­style block own­ers, she said, had the same obli­ga­tion as large-scale farm­ers to have their cat­tle tagged, even if the an­i­mal’s in­tended rest­ing place was the fam­ily freezer rather than a su­per­mar­ket shelf.

‘‘ It all comes back to hav­ing a com­plete sys­tem so that we can pro­vide as­sur­ance for our mar­ket.

‘‘I guess you could look at it as in­surance for the pri­mary sec­tor,’’ Ms Hooper said.

Af­ter Novem­ber 1, you will need to reg­is­ter your­self and your lo­ca­tion if you own cat­tle or deer.

An­i­mals will have to be tagged within 180 days of birth or be­fore they move off-farm – which­ever comes first.

‘‘Any an­i­mal that moves has to be tagged and NAIT will have to be no­ti­fied of

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