Call for awareness of biosecurity regulations

Gilmore farmer Col Locke is asking the public to be respectful of farmers’ biosecurity requirements.

A new form of regulation against Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) is being introduced, and Gilmore Progress Association Secretary Col Locke wants people to know it’s not just for farmers – the public needs to be aware of their behaviour as well.

The new scheme requires farmers to manage their own biosecurity risks rather than the prior top-down approach. Their livestock is awarded a score based on how effective their BJD plans are, so if people go tramping through their farmland without prior vetting, it will have a result on the market value of their stock.

“People really need to take notice of those signs on farmers gates, and if they need to enter a property they need to ring up and tell the farmer or even just knock on the front door,” said Mr Locke.

“Public utilities really need to get their field staff up to scratch. There’s been issues with the latest round of Essential Energy pole replacements, there’s Telstra, rabbit people, weed inspectors, who knows who else! They just let themselves onto the land and wander around.

“Farmers will look out their window and there’s a truck in their paddock, and they don’t know anything about it. “You really need to talk to the farmers so the farmers can log their entry, so they can say where have you been, have you been driving in other farms in your vehicle, and what sort of farm was it?”

The new regulations also have implications for the controversial proposed rail trail that runs through Gilmore farmland. Local Land Services Veterinarian Eliz Braddon said that the trails would not constitute a biosecurity risk for farmers provided they were fenced, but GPA President Jonathan Caffery said that it is hardly an effective compromise.

“If it’s fenced they’d split everything in half,” he said.

“If I come to your front yard and put a fence through it, how would you react?”

The rollout of the new BJD scheme has been widely criticised for being confusing and poorly explained, with the implementation date now extended until October 1, 2017.