Thousands of producers have updated their Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) accreditation as part of changes implemented on October 1, 2017.
Since implementing updates to strengthen the program, more than 11,000 producers have completed the process with an unprecedented number of producers already completing the re-accreditation process without being prompted.
Dr Jane Weatherley is the chief executive officer of Integrity Systems Company (ISC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) that delivers the program on behalf of the red meat industry. Dr Weatherley said producers had really embraced the changes.
“The LPA program remains one of the most important programs that underpins our world-class reputation for the safest and most sustainably produced red meat in the world,” she said.
“The LPA program enables our industry to generate the significant benefits of market access to over 100 countries around the world.
“Producers who retain their LPA accreditation are recognised by our markets that we maintain a minimum standard of best practice across each of the LPA elements.
“The additional modules of biosecurity and animal welfare address additional areas that our customers are wanting assurance that our industry is actively managing these elements.
“Our industry can be extremely proud of the LPA program as it is absolutely world class and envied by our competitors.”
To be up to date with the program, Dr Weatherley said producers need to have addressed the two new elements to the LPA program which were introduced on October 1, 2017.
“The first is the on-farm biosecurity plan. A template was mailed to all LPA accredited producers to make it easier to complete this requirement, however producers are able to use any template they like that works best for their business,” she said.
“The biosecurity plan needs to be filed with all other LPA documents on-farm and be produced if that PIC is selected for a random audit.
“The second element is addressing the animal welfare element.
“To address this, producers and employees need to be able to demonstrate that on-farm systems have been implemented to ensure handling of livestock is consistent with the requirements of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards & Guidelines.”
For producers who haven’t completed the LPA accreditation, Dr Weatherley said they still have the opportunity to do so.
“Although it might seem like a lot to do, producers are finding that completing the new LPA requirements is not difficult,” she said.
“There is a lot of support available with the information on the website, or producers can always contact the Helpdesk team or send an email with any questions.”
“More workshops are being planned for 2018, however if there are producer groups within a region that would like a workshop held, they should contact the LPA Helpdesk or send an email through requesting a workshop for their region.
“The ISC will endeavour to deliver a workshop wherever possible.”
To ensure the management systems introduced by livestock producers are complying with LPA rules and standards, random on-farm audits will be conducted each year.
Random audits commenced in early January, and require producers to show proof of their completed biosecurity plan, a copy of the animal welfare standards and guidelines within their records and whether the appropriate training has been completed.