Lifestyle farms not exempt from scheme
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