Animal ID and monitoring

No clarity on sheep EID system milestones in AMM communique

Terry Sim, December 9, 2022

KEY milestones and timelines in the implementation of a mandatory national electronic identification system for sheep and goats remain unclear after a meeting of Australia’s agricultural and primary industries ministers on Wednesday.

An Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting communique released today said ministers reiterated their intention to implement harmonised tagging requirements for all managed farmed sheep and goats using individual electronic identification, working towards 1 January 2025 implementation.

The communique said key milestones being worked towards include tagging all managed farmed sheep and goats born on or after 1 January 2025, tagging all managed farmed sheep and goats leaving their property of birth or last property of residence, and having sufficient infrastructure in place to allow the scanning of tagged animals as they move through the supply chain.

However, the communique did not clarify if dates had been set for when all farmed sheep and goats leaving properties should be EID tagged or when sufficient supply chain infrastructure should be in place. Instead, the communique seemed to indicate that AMM would allow each individual state and territory to adopt their own implementation timeframes.

“Implementation in jurisdictions will be guided by the needs of industry and producers,” the communique said, despite the ministers’ stated and reiterated intention that implementation be harmonised.

The communique went on to say that ministers further noted livestock traceability is a shared responsibility between all governments and industry, and the Commonwealth has committed $20.1 million for co-investment with states and territories to support industry EID transition and on-farm and off-farm traceability.

“Bilateral agreements for co-investment with states and territories will be developed to support equitable distribution of Commonwealth funding,” the communique said.

However, the communique contained no detail on whether a deadline for finalisation of the bilateral co-investment agreements has been set.

Comments on the communique was sought from federal Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt and the Australian Meat Industry Council, but no responses were received before this report was published.

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