VICTORIA’S Andrews Labor Government has approved more than $400,000 in the second round of grants under its sheep and goat electronic identification transition program.
The government said 61 farmers and other supply chain stakeholders will benefit from the latest round of grants which brings the total approved funding to more than $1.2 million.
In the first round of funding two weeks ago, the Australian Livestock Saleyards Association was granted $230,000 and 33 producers shared in more than $72,000.
The funding is aimed at enabling sheep and goat producers to buy electronic identification equipment such as readers and applicators and at helping the supply chain transition to the mandatory electronic identification traceability scheme.
The government’s total $17 million transition package includes $7.7 million for subsidised ear tags, and up to $750,000 or a maximum of $3000 per producer for EID equipment and software. The saleyard and abattoir sectors can access up to $2.8 million each for equipment and hardware, and stock agents can apply for a share of $150,000 of the package. The packages is also subsidising cost-neutral tags at 35 cents to Victorian farmers in 2017.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the government is making sure livestock producers, saleyards and abattoirs are ready for the change that will help the state succeed on the world stage and strengthen its biosecurity system.
“No one needs to buy new gear other than the tags and a reader, but it’s great to see so many farmers who want to do more.
“There is further funding available and I really encourage anyone who wants to embrace this new technology to make an application and attend a workshop.”
From January 1 this year, all newborn sheep and goats in Victoria must have an electronic National Livestock identification System sheep tag before they leave their property of birth. A compliance rate or ‘action level’ of 80 percent of EID-tagged stock being sold or accepted at abattoirs would be required by the end of March 2018 as the state transitions to the mandatory electronic identification of all sheep and goats in the state by 2022.
The government said farmers who are keen to embrace additional on-farm benefits are encouraged to apply for grants to purchase optional equipment like readers and purpose built weighing systems.
Additional workshops to inform farmers about the new electronic identification system are being held throughout February. Producers can register at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/EIDworkshops or phone 136 186 for more information.
Application forms for equipment grants are available at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/sheepEID or by calling 1800 678 779 during business hours.