Aust-NZ strengthen FMD defence

May 4, 2013

A new action plan between Australia and New Zealand will strengthen defences against Foot and Mouth Disease.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, have announced the two countries will work more closely together focusing combined defences against the threat of FMD.

“FMD poses one of the single greatest threats to livestock industries and rural communities in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve estimated that a large outbreak would cost Australia $AUD 16 billion to control,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years.

“Our countries have committed to work together to develop a trans-Tasman FMD Action Plan to improve preparedness.

“Collaborative government action will help ensure we are both adequately prepared for this disease.”

Minister Guy said both countries were extremely aware of the importance of preparing for the threat, given the importance of the agricultural sector to both economies.
“This work will build on the strong relationship we already have through years of working together on animal health and biosecurity issues,” Minister Guy said.

“It reflects an on-going commitment to improving our knowledge and preparedness.”

Key activities under the joint plan include:

• sharing intelligence on emerging animal health risks facing our region

• developing and improving training activities and FMD detection capabilities, including training in exotic animal disease recognition and participating in joint exercises

• sharing and comparing economic and disease models of FMD to inform management strategies

• collaborating on policy development, approaches and operational plans for vaccination and carcass disposal

• participating in simulation exercises to explore how we could support response efforts in the event of an incursion.

“While both countries will work towards a coordinated Action Plan, the best strategy is to not let FMD ever get into either country in the first place,” Minister Guy said.

“Prevention remains the first priority for both countries through our world class biosecurity systems. New Zealand is fortunate to have never had an outbreak but we must always be prepared.”

Minister Ludwig agreed saying early detection was essential to reduce the potential impact of this disease.

“FMD has been able to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world so vigilance and preparedness are essential safeguards to protecting Australia and New Zealand’s valuable primary industries, Minister Ludwig said.”

Australia and New Zealand have the strictest border controls I’ve ever struck.

The importance of agriculture and horticulture to both our economies provide a very good reason for that.

As island nations it’s easier for us to keep disease out than it is for countries which border others but there is absolutely no room for complacency.

Combining forces against FMD will strengthen defences in both countries.


Rural round-up

April 20, 2013

World record for Canterbury merino farmer – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury merino farmer Anna Emmerson has beaten the Australians at their own game by winning the Loro Piana Challenge Cup in Hong Kong with a world record bale of the finest merino wool.

She broke her own record of 10.9 microns set in 2010 with an ultra-fine bale in the competition held in Paris.

In the past, winning bales have made around $200,000, paid by the family owned clothing and fabric maker Loro Piana, led by Italian brothers Pier Luigi Loro Piana and Sergio Loro Piana.

The business does not disclose the amount paid other than that a premium was offered above its market value if it breaks a record. . .

First Australian for Kellogg leaders’ programme:

Lincoln University’s Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme has extended its welcome, with the course accepting its first Australian participant this year.

 The programme has welcomed Mary Johnson as the first Australian to join the course and also the youngest applicant in its 34-year history.

“I found out about the programme through my line of work at Cattle Council Australia and then through the Australian Beef Industry Foundation,” says Johnson.
“I did some of my own research and found that the Kellogg programme is all over the world, so I jumped at the opportunity.” . .

Partnership offers promise of profit – Tim Cronshaw:

Meat companies cannot afford to suffer more financial losses after losing $200 million last season, and farmers must commit stock to one company to ensure a healthy red- meat industry, says Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford.

He told 600 farmers at a Christchurch meeting of the new Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group on Wednesday that they had to work in partnership with the rest of the industry, because the combative approach was not working.

A sustainable industry, in which everyone made money, was the end game, he said. This would be challenging and require some restructuring. . .

Australians push for Korean FTA:

AUSTRALIAN BEEF farmers are pushing the Gillard Government to restart free trade agreement talks with South Korea. Industry leaders visited Seoul this month seeking to resume talks with the South Koreans.

The National Farmers Union says Australian beef producers stand to miss out on A$1.4 billion in exports to Korea unless a FTA is in place soon. It says the threat to other exports like wheat (A$350 million) and dairy (A$100 million) is also high.

FTA talks between Australia and South Korea stalled after the Australian cabinet banned even starting talks which require settling any type of investor-state dispute (allowing companies unhappy with their treatment in another country to seek arbitration in an agreed third jurisdiction). . .

Farmer protests fail to sway government

Protest meetings in Victoria and South Australia, further planned demonstrations and a direct meeting have all left Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig unmoved.

Farmer Power representatives met with Minister Ludwig last month at a meeting hosted by the Victorian Farmers Federation. The United Dairy Farmers of Victoria also attended.

The group asked for cash assistance to help farmers address cash flow problems. . .

Southern Clams Plans to Diversify with Bluff Oysters in Otago Harbour:

Within twelve months, Dunedin restaurants, could be serving live oysters on the shell straight from Otago Harbour. The plan is the brainchild of Southern Clams who have identified a unique opportunity to diversify their shellfish operations by utilising the certified growing waters of Otago Harbour.

In a consent application to the Otago Regional Council, tabled today, Southern Clams is proposing to take two year old oysters, which have been farmed by New Zealand’s Bluff Oyster Company (NZBO) in Bluff Harbour, and re-lay them in Otago Harbour for up to four weeks, until they meet statutory regulations for commercial harvest. . .


Australia repopens live cattle trade to Indonesia

July 7, 2011

Australian Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig  has reopened live cattle trade to Indonesia on condition exporters are responsible for the welfare of stock sent for slaughter. 

Although there have been no inspections of Indonesian abattoirs by Australian officials, Senator Ludwig said export permits would be issued only if exporters complied with a new system that ensured individual cattle were tracked and slaughtered under international standards.

The ban, which was imposed after evidence emerged of Australian cattle being treated brutally in Indonesian abattoirs, has devastated the $320 million a year industry and sparked tension with Australia’s nearest neighbour. Senator Ludwig’s decision means Australian exporters can now apply for export licences to start shipping stranded cattle to Indonesia if they meet strict conditions to track animal movements to ensure their humane treatment.

Cattle producers in the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia have few other options for selling prime stock.

When we were there last year, Indonesia had changed the rules, reducing the weight of cattle which could be imported and that was putting huge pressure on station budgets.

The change was made because Indonesia wanted to increase domestic production to reduce its reliance on imports. The ban has added impetus to that:

The Indonesian government described the scrapping of the ban as ”great news”.

Deputy agriculture minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said Jakarta is now rethinking its reliance on live cattle imports in the wake of the ban.

He said Indonesia’s recent experiences with Australia show that depending on food imports is risky.

The ban cost Australia 10s of millions of dollars. If Indonesia does manage to increase its self-sufficiency it will have a major impact on Australia and northern cattle producers in particular.

 

 


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