It will be a matter of first in best dressed when it comes to claiming rebates for electronic identification (eID) infrastructure for sheep and goats.
The eID infrastructure rebate scheme opened for the state's producers on October 3, with already 585 applications received by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority totalling $3.8 million.
Of those, 295 applications were for eID readers and related software while 290 were for auto drafters and goat handling equipment.
To date, 314 of the applications received have been approved, to the value of $2.1m. One application has been received from a stock and station agent.
But NSW primary producers are being urged to get in quick before the money runs out. A NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesperson said to "ensure equity and fairness", applications were assessed in order of date received.
"As funding is limited, early applications have been encouraged to avoid missing out on the available assistance," the DPI spokesperson said.
In addition NSW Farmers' president Xavier Martin wants the Commonwealth to provide more funding to assist sheep and goat producers in NSW transition to government-mandated scheme.
"This request comes at a time of increasingly dry conditions across the state while market prices for sheep and goats have plummeted to the point where some sheep are worth less than the cost of an eID tag," Mr Martin said.
In February 2023, Mr Martin said NSW Farmers surveyed sheep and goat members to understand the cost impact of the required transition to eID, and found approximately 80 per cent of producers were yet to use the tags.
"We've raised the need for further funding announcements from the Commonwealth and we're writing to (Federal) Minister (Murray) Watt to tell him a funding announcement prior to the 2024-25 Budget would reduce the angst of sheep and goat producers required to transition to government-mandated eID who are facing significant rises in cost of production," Mr Martin said.
ALMA supports Western Australia's move to defer the scanning in saleyards to July 1 2025, urging other state's including NSW to follow suit to ensure uniformed implementation.
In NSW the timeline is staged with producers being required to have eIDs applied to sheep and farmed goats born from January 1, 2025 onwards when they leave any property.
Mandatory tagging for all movements will commence January 1, 2027.
ALMA president Ken Rogers says Western Australian Food and Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis had recognised the current pressures the industry was facing.
"Minister Jarvis has listened to the sheep industry and responded in a practical and sympathetic manner. We now urge all the other states to follow this lead and show an understanding of the current issues facing the saleyard and broader industry," Mr Rogers said.
But the DPI spokesperson said NSW's timeline was developed with a considered approach that takes into account the time taken to manage the challenges posed by cultural and skillset changes, the implementation of critical infrastructure as well as external factors influencing the industry.
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