NSW Farmers has reiterated its requirement for equitable financial support for farmers as part of proposed national sheep and goat electronic identification reform.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders last month announced grants of between $5000-$15,000 for saleyards and processors to implement mandatory electronic identification of sheep and farmed goats.
He said the funding would allow saleyards and processors to start planning for the rollout of the system in NSW from 1 January 2025.
“We want saleyards and processors to start their planning and design of infrastructure and any essential modifications associated with their business.
“Grants between $5,000 and $15,000 will be available for these businesses to commence planning for essential modifications and the critical infrastructure required.”
Mr Saunders said the NSW Government is also continuing to work with the Commonwealth Government to finalise a cost-sharing model to support the broader roll-out of the mandatory electronic identification for sheep and goat producers in NSW. However, no grants scheme for producers has been announced. The government is also yet to release details about the saleyard and processor grants application process.
Mr Saunders told Sheep Central the NSW government is in the process of liaising directly with relevant saleyards and producers to ensure they understand the grants requirements and application process.
“The rollout of these grants will in no way be affected by the upcoming (NSW state) election.
“We remain 100 percent committed to getting this policy right,” he said.
“The NSW Government continues to work with the Commonwealth Government to work on a broader package of funding support to ensure the successful transition to electronic identification for sheep and goat producers.”
NSW Farmers support is still conditional
A NSW Farmers spokesman said the association has made its expectations clear to the government about this matter many times since the minister announced it last July.
“There must be appropriate and equitable financial support in place for farmers as well as others in the supply chain. Our understanding is that the NSW Government is currently in negotiations with the Federal Government on cost-sharing arrangements and once completed, DPI will continue consultation with supply chain stakeholders on financial assistance.
“Our expectation for financial support for producers does not change,” the spokesman said.
NSW Farmers policy provides in-principle support to the traceability reform for sheep and goats, conditional on several factors, which are that a national traceability system must:
- Have jurisdictional harmonisation
- Reduce tag costs to an economically affordable level
- Financially assist farmers and the supply chain to invest in technology
- Be underpinned by an equitable funding arrangement across the supply chain
- Ensure the NLIS database has proven capability
- Retain the option of tag free pathways
- A staged roll out over a five-year period
- Be developed in consultation with producers; and
- NLIS is the only system that is available for stock movements
Stock agents welcome NSW Government announcement
Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association chief executive officer Peter Baldwin welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement.
“As the national peak body representing livestock agents across NSW, we know that the implementation of mandatory sheep and goat electronic identification is a huge piece of work and will take support from the government to ensure it is rolled out in the best, most seamless way possible,” he said.
“This announcement for saleyards to plan and prepare is a positive step forward and shows the industry we won’t be left alone on this electronic tagging journey.”
The NSW Government released its timeline for sheep and goat electronic identification last week:
- All meat processors will be required to start eID scanning farmed sheep and goats from 30 June 2024.
- All sheep and farmed goats born on or after 1 January 2025 will require an eID device.
- All saleyards, depots and property to property transfers of stock will require eID scanning from 1 January 2025.
- All farmed sheep and goats leaving a property will require an eID device from 1 January 2027.
Click here to read the full ministerial release.