Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

Leaders from the nation’s state farming organisations have agreed to work together on sweeping reforms announced by Agriculture Ministers last year.

The meeting, held at Adelaide Showground and online on Wednesday, was organised by NSW Farmers with the support of Livestock SA, and featured representatives from the Victorian Farmers Federation, AgForce Queensland, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, WA Farmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA to discuss reforms to sheep and goat traceability.

The implementation and transition to mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification was mandated by state Agriculture Ministers in 2022 following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, with the move touted as strengthening Australia’s biosecurity preparedness.

However, each state was working within different frameworks and had varying levels of support from government, prompting the Adelaide meeting of State Farm Organisations. It was jointly agreed that to achieve a harmonised approach that:

  1. State and federal governments need to invest increased funding to financially assist producers to transition to individual electronic identification to meet state government implementation requirements. Education for producers should be included in this funding. 
  2. Continued efforts by industry and governments (would be required) to reduce producer costs associated with electronic identification infrastructure and devices. 
  3. (There was a) need for the National Livestock Identification System database to have the required capability and capacity to handle increased data prior to states commencing mandatory electronic identification, and this includes to ensure that the user interface is accessible and usable by producers.
  4. Support Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) recommendations for traceability.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said there was an obvious need for state farm organisations to work together to achieve the best outcomes for the industry.

“With such a big reform coming through the mandatory implementation of eID traceability for sheep and goats, we need state farm organisations talking and working together to secure the best possible outcomes for their members,” Mr Martin said.

“Each state and territory is at a different place when it comes to eID use and the transition to it being the sole traceability system for sheep and goats, so we came together to see where the common ground was and to collectively take forward the needs of producers from a grassroots level to our national advocacy bodies and governments, both state and federal.”

“Since the mandate was announced, we have seen significant increases in costs of production for sheep and goat producers and it is more important than ever that both producers and governments know what it means for their bottom line, and how these mandated changes will impact their operations.”

The implementation date agreed by Australia’s Agriculture Ministers of January 1, 2025 was fast approaching, and farmers had been telling their state representative bodies they wanted to see a national system that worked for all participants.

After such a productive meeting, representatives agreed to hold another joint meeting in August to progress these issues.

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