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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2014
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2014 41 The last 12 months have seen the VFF Livestock group meet with over 1,500 producers face-to-face on key policy issues such as Animal Welfare legislation, Johne’s Disease and NLIS for sheep and goats. Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Aside from meetings, other ways the Livestock group is reaching producers is through regional dinners, online surveys and the establishment of advisory groups including a Sheepmeat Advisory Group. The purpose of this group is to include more Victorian sheepmeat producers in the consideration of important issues specific to the sheepmeat industry, which is then conveyed to the Livestock Council when they are considering policy. One of the recent achievements of the VFF Livestock Group has been the introduction of the Sheep Health Statement (SHS) booklet. The SHS was devised in relation to the National Ovine Johne’s Disease management plan, which asks producers to manage their own risk. The SHS booklet makes it easier for producers to use and retain records for their own business. The new books are similar to the National Vendor Declaration books containing a carbon copy sheet which is handy for record keeping. The SHS is used as a risk management tool to help make sound trading decisions. It can offer a level of assurance that the sheep producers are purchasing are relevant to thier needs. When selling stock, providing a SHS will help producers to make appropriate purchasing decisions, and help promote producer practices and increase competition. The SHS is not compulsory for trade within Victoria, but is strongly recommended when trading interstate. The books are available for inter-state sale for the price of $15 incl. GST and postage. The VFF Livestock Group also had a win with the recent announcement in June 2014 of the completion of the North West Victorian Sheep Biosecurity Area (NWVSBA) agreement that mean sheep from that area can again be sold into SA without the producer having to supply a negative OJD test, which is costly and time consuming to obtain. From 1 July 2014 producers selling sheep through the Swan Hill, Yelta, Wycheproof and Ouyen yards can expect the return of South Australian competition. This process was driven by a number of VFF Members, led by the Chair of the Group, Kevin Crook. The group has run a number of highly successful livestock policy dinners, with the first being held in Hamilton in September 2013. The sold out night included presentations on media and social media in agriculture by Kate Dowler from The Weekly Times, and Tom Whitty, VFF Media Manager and from AgChatOz co-founder, as well as an interactive Q & A session. Since then, two more policy dinners have been in held in Warragul and Ballarat in 2014. The Warragul dinner attracted 90 producers to hear presentations on social media and red meat processing. There are further dinner plans in 2014 for Rutherglen, Wycheproof and Bairnsdale. VFF Livestock Group remains committed to engaging with our sheepmeat producers and the wider farming community and these sessions provide an opportunity for people to let us know what issues are affecting their business. The Livestock group also continue to be proactive in providing an extension service to all Victorian sheepmeat producers. Focus has been placed on delivering best practice animal health and biosecurity messages, with an emphasis on endemic diseases that effect on-farm production. The VFF Livestock Group looks forward to continuing to engage with sheepmeat producers and industry alike into 2015 to ensure they are coming up with best and most informed policy and extension services for the benefit of the state. Alina Tooley Livestock Commodity Manager
Sheepmeat 2015 2016