SHEEP producers will benefit from many of the commitments in the Federal Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, according to the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
SCA vice president Alexander MacLachlan said it was good to see the government’s commitments to research and development, drought, wild dogs, ag veterinary chemicals, traceability, market access, biosecurity and a dedicated agricultural commissioner within the ACCC, which should have farm gate benefits.
“Access to key markets is an ongoing priority for sheep producers.
“A lot of work was done last year to secure benefits for sheep producers in the China Australia FTA, but to fully realise the potential gains we need to ensure there are no technical trade barriers,” he said.
“The commitment by government to market access, including new agricultural counsellors is good news; we need to continue to open markets for sheepmeat and capitalise on current markets for the benefits of sheep producers.”
The SCA is also encouraged to see a commitment by government to streamline the ag-veterinary chemical registration process.
“Being able to access products is important to sheep producers; we need improved access to drenches, vaccines, and pain relief; achieving a better process for registration is a priority for SCA.
“In recent years our competitors have gained access to products that have benefited health, welfare and productivity which Australia hasn’t been able to access. It is good to see the Government recognising the necessity for reform and committing funding to this process,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Ensuring that animal health and welfare products are available with appropriate withholding periods and export slaughter intervals that protect market access is crucial.”
Mr McLachlan was also pleased to see a number of other great initiatives for farmers, including changes to double the Farm Management Deposit (FMD) limit to $800,000, and enabling FMD accounts to be used as farm business loan offsets. The white paper also proposes to extend the Rural R&D for Profit Program with $100,000 out to 2021-22.
Source: Sheepmeat Council of Australia.