A program that matches farmers who have wildlife management problems with accredited sporting shooters is set to be rolled out across more states following a successful pilot initiative in Queensland.
The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia launched the Farmer Assist program in Queensland with the support of AgForce 12 months ago.
Under the free program, landholders with macropod, wild dog, pig or other pest animal problems can post a request for assistance on the SSAA’s Farmer Assist website.
SSAA members interested in helping out can then respond to the post, and the farmer can then decide whether to invite any of the respondents to their property.
SSAA Farmers Assist national coordinator Matt Godson said the program has been able to help every farmer who has registered a call for assistance on the Farmer Assist website in the past 12 months, with more than 100 farmers registering since the pilot program was launched.
Mr Godson said more than 1600 SSAA members have already registered to participate in Queensland.
“We’ve got capacity to help a lot more landholders, it is just a matter of getting the program in front of them,” Mr Godson told Beef Central.
A roll out into Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania is now on the cusp of being formally announced, with plans in place to expand the program into New South Wales and Victoria after that.
Farmer Assist effectively provide farmers with a portal through which to contact people who can help them with a pest management problem.
He said farmers could choose to invite more than one respondent.
“When it comes to pest management it is all about intensity and frequency,” Mr Godon said.
“If you have an issue with macropods, you can can utiilise a number of different SSAA Farmer Assist members over different weeks so you can have successive weeks of pest control.
“The farmer always has discretion of who he invites. It is entirely up to them.”
Mr Godson stressed that the program is professionally run, and only insured and accredited members were able to participate.
“They have passed accreditation training so their shooting standard is what you would expect of a professional shooter,” Mr Godson said.
He said the program can help producers to share some of their workload.
“I have spoken to a few farmers wives and they have been so happy to have their husbands home at night,” he said. “That is one of these social benefits.”