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Compulsory animal ID, farmers need the where, what, whens

5 September 2011

Compulsory animal ID, farmers need the where, what, whens and how’s

While Federated Farmers position on the mandatory National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme is well known, the Federation must support members by ensuring they get the briefings, instruction and detail on how to be NAIT compliant by 1 July, 2012.

“NAIT will become compulsory on 1 July 2012 and within three years, some 9.8 million cattle will have to be electronically tagged and registered online,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Federated Farmers has worked hard to ensure what will become law is practical and effective, will have the least impact on the bottom line and won’t become a technological orphan.

“Other concerns we’ve expressed, sometimes strongly, revolve around ownership and control of the immense intellectual property NAIT will accumulate. Finally, farmers want to know the data they provide won’t be used for other purposes.

“NAIT has taken many of these concerns on-board Federated Farmers has been the farmer’s watchdog and we’ve caught things well before they’ve gone public.

“The reality we now face is that with both the Government and Opposition supporting NAIT, it is difficult to see anywhere near a majority voting down the bill.

“We are painfully aware that the penalty provisions of the bill are significant. It’s why we have to ensure our members and indeed all farmers, know what NAIT is and what they need to do about becoming compliant by 1 July 2012.

“This will demand a massive farmer-education campaign by NAIT. NAIT simply cannot rely on a website, letters, a few adverts and a call centre, given the experience of recent high profile rural campaigns.

“It must use every channel agriculture offers; from A+P Shows to Fieldays as well as DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb. It will also include Federated Farmers. It would be irresponsible to compromise our members because they need to know a lot more about NAIT.

“Federated Farmers needs to find out what support NAIT will extend to those farmers who, through geography, have limited or no internet access. While NAIT tees off next July, the Rural Broadband Initiative isn’t due for completion until 2016/17.

“For a number of seasons to come, there will be a lot of farms left in the internet wilderness. What happens to farms lacking the internet?

“After it goes live next February, farmers will have only four or so months to get any cattle they plan to move off-farm onto NAIT. We need the assurance NAIT won’t fall over due to the weight of enrolments.

“Federated Farmers will maintain very close scrutiny of the system, its effectiveness and cost, because we are still highly dubious of the claimed benefits,” Mr Wills concluded.

ENDS

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