Changes to biosecurity laws in recent years have shifted a lot of the costs and responsibilities for managing pests and diseases on to producers.
There has understandably been a lot of confusion and frustration about the various new biosecurity requirements, with many producers concerned they would not be able to put in place a property biosecurity plan by June 30 this year.
AgForce understands and shares producers’ frustration about all the changes, and we lobbied for more time and more support for producers to meet some of the new requirements of the market.
Following AgForce’s advocacy, Animal Health Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia agreed to be flexible on the new requirements for managing Johne’s disease, allowing an extra three months for the preparation of biosecurity plans for producers trading with the NT.
While AgForce would have preferred a 12-month deferral of biosecurity planning requirements, an extra three months will at least give producers some much needed breathing space.
It also means the new deadline of October 1 to have a biosecurity plan in place for managing Johne’s disease now matches up with when the new biosecurity requirements take effect for the Livestock Production Assurance program overseen by Meat and Livestock Australia.
The reality is most cattle producers are already doing the right thing and can confidently tick yes to most if not all of the biosecurity plan boxes. Developing a biosecurity plan will just document the good work producers are already doing, but producers need more time to prepare.
AgForce has joined with Livestock Biosecurity Network to hold a series of biosecurity workshops throughout June to provide producers with a choice of templates and information on how to design a biosecurity plan that suits their individual needs.
There has been enormous demand for these workshops and we’re looking at options for future workshops with an ‘Expression of Interest’ form on the events page of the AgForce website.
For those who can’t attend workshops, we have developed an information page on our website that includes a short and sharp explanation of the biosecurity changes, as well as links to templates of plans, while further information is available from Animal Health Australia, and Meat and Livestock Australia.