AS still more international visitors with undeclared and potentially disease-ridden animal and plant material are denied entry to Australia, the nation is looking inward for its 2020 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year.
Minister for Agriculture Senator Bridget McKenzie yesterday said two Bangladeshi travellers who arrived at Perth airport on Sunday failed to declare 21 live plants, including four that were concealed.
“Four visa cancellations for biosecurity breaches in three weeks shows Australia will not tolerate people putting our world-class clean, green reputation at risk,” she said.
Today Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia asked the nation’s agricultural sector to name its biosecurity champions.
They want anyone who goes the extra mile to protect their property from diseases, pests and weeds to be nominated before Friday 6 December for the 2020 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award.
AHA and PHA said Australia is facing unprecedented disease, pest and weed risks and the everyday actions carried out on-farm are vital to keeping Australia free of exotic threats, minimising the impacts of endemic conditions and maintaining our reputation for clean green agricultural exports.
The two bodies’ Farm Biosecurity Program is joining with the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture to recognise farmers who demonstrate exceptional, proactive biosecurity practices, as part of the Australian Biosecurity Awards.
The Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award was first presented in early 2018 to recognise excellence in on-farm biosecurity practices and the contributions made by producers to the wider biosecurity system.
AHA chief executive officer Kathleen Plowman said she is excited to see the Producer of the Year Award return for the third time in 2020.
“Last year we were pleased to announce livestock winners, Queensland cattle producers Melinee and Rob Leather.
“Their fantastic on-farm measures really set the standard for how biosecurity can be implemented in an extensive grazing operation,” Ms Plowman said.
“With biosecurity being such a hot-button issue in livestock, especially intensive livestock production, at the moment, we have no doubt we will see another round of quality candidates emerge in 2020.”
PHA executive director and CEO Greg Fraser said he is eager to unearth and acknowledge biosecurity champions who understand the importance of being proactive.
“Our 2019 cropping winners, Victoria’s Luciano and Heather Corallo, are an excellent example of what it means to be a leader in your industry.
“The way they not only handle biosecurity on their property but the way they put themselves and their practices on display to educate and encourage others is truly commendable,” he said.
“I would encourage anyone who has a friend, family member or neighbour who leads by example to nominate them for the Producer of the Year Award.”
Farm Biosecurity is a national awareness program that provides information to livestock and plant producers and related service providers about on-farm biosecurity, and prevention of animal diseases and plant pests. The joint AHA/PHA initiative encourages producers to identify risks to their livestock and plant products and minimise these risks by incorporating on-farm biosecurity measures into their everyday operations.
For information on the awards, including the nomination form, visit agriculture.gov.au/aba and for more information on the Farm Biosecurity Program’s six on-farm biosecurity essentials, visit farmbiosecurity.com.au.