Animal ID and monitoring

NSW Government promises $1 EID sheep and goat tags

Sheep Central, May 1, 2024

At the Carcoar saleyards today were, from left, NSW Farmers president, Xavier Martin, NSW Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty, and Trunkey Creek wool and lamb producer Scott Brown.

NEW South Wales livestock producers have been promised electronic identification ear tags for sheep and goats for a net cost of $1, under a discounting program announced today.

An EID tag discount of 76 cents will be applied to eligible tags purchased between 1 November 2024 to 31 October 2025 or until funds are exhausted, the NSW Government said today.

The government release said the discount will ensure and “make $1 electronic identification (EID) tags available to NSW sheep and goat farmers.”

NSW Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty, announced the discounting program with NSW Farmers president Xavier Martin at the Carcoar saleyards.

Details unclear on how $1 cost will be achieved

However, details as to how the net $1 tag cost will be achieved were not yet available. Sheep Central has been told that the average retail cost of EID sheep tags in NSW is around $2, making it difficult for a $1 net tag cost to be achieved unless the 76-cent rebate is applied to the wholesale cost of manufacturers supplying direct to farmers.

The government said industry has raised their concerns about tag manufacturers increasing their prices as a result of the assistance. This will be monitored by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to ensure that all of the benefits of this assistance are delivered to the producers. Once the tag discount program is in place, producers will not have to complete any additional paperwork to participate in accessing discounted tags, the government said.

In other states offering tag subsidies, tag manufacturers reduce the wholesale price by the exact amount of the subsidy amount per tag, but manufacturers have no control over the retail price charged by a reseller. Sheep Central has been told the only way can be clearly monitored is if the tag manufacturer supplies the tags directly to the producer as is done in Victoria.

The NSW Government said discount program will be applied to 2025 National Livestock Identification Scheme-accredited white EID tags for lambs and kids born in 2025 from 1 January. The new tag program will provide a discount to EID tags when purchasing from the retailer.

Ms Moriarty the tag cost discount has increased the government’s commitment to the mandatory sheep and goat EID implementation to $41 million.

Ms Moriarty said the NSW Government has invested more than any other jurisdiction in Australia to support the move to EID for sheep and farmed goats.

“To best support our producers and the cost of purchasing EID tags, this discount program will address the concerns we’ve heard from industry in relation to initial implementation costs,” she said.

The NSW Sheep and Goat eID Rebate Scheme has already helped offset the cost of purchase and installation of EID-related equipment to eligible primary producers, stock and station agents, saleyards and processors. Nearly 1700 primary producers have applied for a rebate, totalling more than $15 million. The scheme supported producers purchasing hand-held readers, panel readers and purchase, installation and training for software associated with using EID infrastructure.

The tag discount program and the initial rebate scheme are part of the NSW Government’s comprehensive biosecurity initiatives designed to protect the NSW economy, environment and community from pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants.

NSW Department of Primary Industries has incorporated feedback from the NSW Sheep and Goat Traceability Reference Group on the design of the program to ensure the experience for producers is as streamlined as possible.

Governments must properly support producers – NSW Farmers

NSW Farmers president Xavier Martin said the discount program had come as a positive step forward for producers in the transition to electronic identification for sheep and goats. NSW Farmers has had a goal of limiting EID tags costs to $1.

“It is the governments who mandated this traceability system, and so they must have plans to properly support producers with transitioning to the required systems,” Mr Martin said.

“We have made it very clear that we will only continue to support these traceability reforms if tag costs are reduced to economically viable levels, and we are pleased to hear the state government has stepped up to the plate and listened to our policies on this.

“While there is further detail in this scheme we need to unpack and understand, there is no doubt that today’s announcement is a step forward in support for sheep and goat producers in NSW,” he said.

“However, there is a still a long road ahead for traceability reform, and the state and federal governments must continue to ensure there is sufficient and suitable funding for all producers in NSW, all the way through this transition, if this scheme is to truly be successful and harmonized.”

With just eight months until eID becomes mandatory for sheep and goats in NSW, Mr Martin urged state and federal governments to continue to explore all available options to ensure that national traceability can be achieved without excessive imposts and costs for sheep and goat producers.

“In 2022, NSW Farmers determined nine principles required for this scheme to be effective, and today’s announcement is the latest of our principles to be actioned by government following our ongoing advocacy,” Mr Martin said.

“It’s time now for governments to step up once again and use all the options available to them to ensure farmers can successfully transition through these traceability reforms and keep our high-quality produce available on tables both in Australia and overseas.

“This means more funding for tags is required in the forthcoming state and federal budgets, as well as the incorporation of tag-free pathways for animals moving directly from their property of birth to slaughter.

“We’re calling for longevity, for continuity and for support – and while this funding is a start, it must not be the end.”

For more information on the implementation of EID for sheep and goats in NSW visit the DPI website and sign up to the NSW sheep and goat EID newsletter.


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  1. John Jones, May 2, 2024

    It may be the governments who mandated this EID program, but this was under hard lobbying from Sheep Producers Australia.

    Why was this lobbying so hard when most farm representatives and farmers are against this additional cost and work?

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