MORE than 4440 Australian red meat producers have updated their Livestock Production Assurance accreditation as part of changes implemented to strengthen the program.
Meat & Livestock Australia said the number of producers who completed the new accreditation process included 3816 who have renewed voluntarily, and an additional 624 who have become accredited for the first time.
These producers have completed the assessment via the LPA Service Centre to demonstrate they understand their food safety, animal welfare and biosecurity responsibilities.
Integrity Systems Company chief executive officer Dr Jane Weatherley said producers have been proactive in understanding and embracing the changes to the LPA program.
“The changes enhance the integrity of Australia’s $23 billion red meat industry and ensure our reputation and market access is protected, strengthening our promise to consumers and keeping us one step ahead of our competitors.
“It’s encouraging to know that producers have taken the time to understand their responsibilities, do the online learning modules and complete the accreditation process,” she said.
More than 5500 producers have also attended 62 workshops across Australia to learn about the changes to LPA and in particular the introduction of biosecurity requirements.
Cattle Council of Australia president Howard Smith said attending the workshops gave producers the opportunity to ask questions about the new biosecurity requirements and understand from a practical perspective what they need to do on-farm.
LPA accredited mixed farmer Andrew Bell said the Sheepmeat Council of Australia workshop he attended in Horsham, Victoria in mid-October helped him understand the new requirements. At the workshop, he and more than 100 other producers, worked through how to create a biosecurity plan for their farms.
“A lot of it is common sense. Going to the workshop was a valuable exercise and has helped me formulate a farm biosecurity plan.
“Undertaking a biosecurity plan will make producers think about the importance of record keeping and how they would react if there were a biosecurity breach,” Mr Bell said.
“If we can show we’re cleaner, greener and more transparent, it will be a lot easier to sell our products.”
Any producers still unsure about what they need to do to make sure they are compliant with the new LPA requirements can visit www.mla.com.au/LPAchanges, email [email protected] or call the LPA helpdesk on 1800 683 111. Producers can also work through LPA Learning, a set of online learning modules that explain the on-farm practices required to meet the seven elements of LPA.