19 July, 2023
Progress on sheep and goat traceability
Sheep and farmed goat producers say they appreciate funding to help transition to a mandatory traceability system, but concerns about tag costs remain.
On Wednesday NSW Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty announced $38 million in joint state-federal funding to support the sheep and farmed goat industry in the implementation of mandatory individual electronic identification (eID) across NSW.
From August 1, parts of the sheep and farmed goat supply chain will be able to access an NSW Sheep and Goat eID Infrastructure Rebate to assist impacted stakeholders in transitioning from the existing visual tag system to an eID one.
The rebate will first be rolled out to saleyards and processors, then producers and agents from October.
NSW Farmers Sheepmeat Committee chair Jenny Bradley said the funding was appreciated, but there had to be greater contribution from the federal government, and the details had to be closely examined.
“We expect that all producers who are required to invest in mandatory eID should be able to readily access this funding and receive a rebate so that no one misses out,” Mrs Bradley said.
“The government’s eID rollout is a significant issue for producers, and we welcome progress, however, there still remains a significant need to reduce the cost of eID NLIS devices to economically affordable levels.
“If some states have cheaper tags than others, producers will lose faith in the fairness of the system, and we won’t stand a chance of national harmonisation.”
The funding was not expected to reduce tag costs in NSW, and Mrs Bradley said this was a critical issue that needed to be addressed. She said there had to be funding from the federal government to bring down the cost of eID tags.
“NSW Farmers policy seeks eID tags for sheep cost no more than $1 per tag, and more affordable tags is a position broadly agreed to by all other state farming organisations at our meeting in Adelaide last week,” Mrs Bradley said.
“We know tags need to be more affordable and we need flexibility with the NLIS when much lower cost devices become available.
“But the clock is running on the rollout of mandatory eID – sheep and farmed goat producers can’t afford to keep waiting for solutions to this issue of tag costs – we call on the NSW and Australian Governments to initiate a national tag tender to support the reduction of NLIS eID device costs; we need prompt action to initiate a scheme.”
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