The implementation of farm biosecurity plans by the meat and livestock industry need to be delayed, according to Member for Euroa Steph Ryan.
Ms Ryan said there was great confusion over the plans, which farmers must adopt if they wish to keep accreditation under Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Livestock Production Assurance program.
‘‘I have been contacted by a number of farmers who are frustrated by the biosecurity plans, which were added to the LPA program in October this year,’’ she said.
‘‘People agree that biosecurity plans are necessary and with what MLA are trying to achieve, but they are incredibly frustrated with the way the changes have been rolled out.
‘‘There has been a lack of communication about the changes and a lack of support when it comes to finding out more about the implementation.
‘‘The implementation of the program should be delayed until this confusion is worked out,’’ she said.
Ms Ryan has also written to Meat and Livestock Australia to convey the concerns of farmers in the Euroa electorate.
‘‘One farmer tried to get more information via the helpline seven times before getting through to someone and was then told that the materials he required were not available,’’ she said.
‘‘Another farmer was concerned that it all seemed to happen out of the blue with little to no communication or publicity. She believes the information pack to be confusing and is unsure about what is required as opposed to what is recommended.”
Ms Ryan said concerns had also been raised about the timeframe proposed to complete the required biosecurity plan.
Euroa farmer Graham Newton said given the workload of farmers and how busy they are with stock and crops, two months is not enough time for some to complete the plan.
‘‘I know of farmers who have very busy workloads from August through to Christmas with one job on top of another,’’ he said.
‘‘That really worries me because there seems to be no give from MLA. If it’s not done, then effectively MLA puts us out of business.
‘‘And when you ring five or six times and you can’t get anybody, you can imagine how frustrating it is,’’ Mr Newton said.