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Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The state’s peak agricultural body says mandatory electronic identification tags for sheep should cost no more than $1 per tag, setting a clear target for state and federal governments.

Last year Australia’s agriculture ministers agreed to mandate the use of electronic identification under the national traceability system for sheep and goats. But almost 12 months later, farmers were still worried about how much the scheme might cost their businesses, and made it clear there must be financial support to implement traceability reform.

NSW Farmers had agreed to policy providing in-principle support for the national traceability scheme after it was mandated by the previous government, President Xavier Martin said, but there was a need to set a maximum cost amid growing angst from producers.

“Farmers are rightly becoming increasingly concerned about the costs associated with implementing eID for sheep and goats, following the previous government’s mandating of the traceability system last year,” Mr Martin said.

“Since the former government’s announcement of mandated electronic identification for sheep and goats in July 2022, we have been clear that there must be sufficient financial support made available for producers of these livestock.

“Our Executive Council has looked at what other state governments are providing their producers and calculated a maximum price of $1 per tag is reasonable for the NSW Government to support given biosecurity benefits everyone, not just producers.”

The official position of NSW Farmers on the national traceability reform for sheep and goats clearly articulated the Association’s in-principle support for the move to mandatory eID was conditional on several factors, including:

  • Tag costs were reduced to an economically affordable level,
  • Farmers and the supply chain were provided financial assistance to invest in technology, and
  • The transition was underpinned by an equitable funding arrangement across the supply chain. 

Mr Martin said with state and federal governments mandating a more expensive system, there needed to be financial assistance on the table, and the $1 price tag was in line with other states.

“Farmers need support in reducing the cost of accredited eID National Livestock Identification System devices, including ear tags and similar identification technology, under this reform,” Mr Martin said.

“The last thing we want to see is a significant cost burden borne by producers who are now required to transition to using eID by government.

“NSW Farmers is determined to secure financial assistance for farmers and the supply chain to invest in technology; to retain tag free pathways, and ensure the system be developed in consultation with producers.”

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