SA sheep and farmed goat producers will be able to buy subsidised electronic tags for less than $1 each ahead of the roll out of mandatory eID.
Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven revealed more than $9 million in funding in the 2023-24 state budget will be put towards implementing stage one of the system.
The state government funding - in addition to the federal government contribution - will be used to offer a 50 per cent rebate for those tagging newborn lambs and kids for the next two years (2023-2024 and 2024-25).
Ms Scriven says this will encourage producers to be ready for the national start date of January 1, 2025. All lambs born after this date must be tagged before leaving the property but produers will have a further two years before all animals need to be tagged.
The initial funding package will also pay for 75 per cent of essential infrastructure needed across the supply chain to transition to eID. Those eligible will include saleyards, feedlots, agricultural shows and processors.
"Saleyards will be responsible for scanning tags on arrival. PIRSA will run a compliance program over the top and follow up non-compliance as necessary," she said.
Ms Scriven says many producers are already using eID voluntarily but transitioning from the mob based system with visual tags to individual eID was incredibly important to improve traceability in SA's sheep flocks and goat herds.
It will ensure a quick response in the unfortunate event of an exotic disease outbreak in the state's $4.3b livestock industry.
"This is about being prepared for emergency animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease or Lumpy Skin Disease, ensuring we are able to get on top of an incursion if it should occur as quickly as possible and also reopen in terms of market access," she said.
"Traceability is absolutely key for all of those things and it is an incredibly important part of biosecurity."
Because of strong advocacy from Livestock SA Ms Scriven says the state government has agreed to provide the subsidy to any producer who has tagged newborn lambs or kids since the start of 2023.
"Those who have done the right thing in terms of early adoption won't be disadvantaged because of that, assuming that it is the NLIS approved tag of course," she said.
"We are working on roughly 30 per cent of animals are retaining for breeding and that is of course what we would expect the producers to be focusing on."
Ms Scriven says they are still working through the mechanism of delivering the tag rebate whether it was through PIRSA or providing the subsidy direct to tag manufacturers but were absolutely committed to keep producers up to date on the next steps.
"As part of the budget process this information will be announced very soon," she said.
"We are looking at the tags being less than $1 each and have the intension of working with our colleagues in other states to get the cost down even further."
Despite some producers seeking exemptions for certain classes or movements Ms Scriven says it will only be rangeland goats which will be exempt from being eID tagged.
"It is really important that we do have a national system so that when we are looking at international trade access our customers overseas can see this is an integrated nationwide system," she said.
Ms Scriven said she would work closely with industry to determine what was needed for stage 2 (all animals by January 2027), including potentially more funding.
"We appreciate there will be a crossover where there will be some double tagging required at 2027 and we will be working closely with industry to see what the appropriate approach for that is," she said.
The funding has been welcomed by Livestock SA. Their vice president Allan Piggott said the organisation was pleased the state government had listened to industry as it worked towards the January 1 2025 implementation date.
"By subsiding the infrastructure and the cost of the tags for producers, this will ensure that the supply chain works well to implement this important initiative," he said.
"The technology is well developed and was first implemented for cattle in SA in 2004.
"Many SA sheep and goat producers are already using eID technology to assist with on-farm management and production decisions.
"We will continue to work with the State Government on the second stage of implementation, due in 2027, and the support that will be required to enable a full transition."
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