NSW producers are still waiting for the government to reduce tag costs as the South Australian government has already got on with the job.
With just a year before the deadline for mandatory national electronic identification (eID) for sheep and goats, the South Australian government has struck a deal with National Livestock Identification Scheme-accredited tag manufacturers that will begin tomorrow (January 1, 2024).
This means rural retailers and tag manufacturers will offer a 95 cent discount for eID tags across SA from the start of next year.
SA producers will not be required to complete any application forms to access the discount, but the tags must be aligned to the NLIS year of birth - black for 2024 and white for 2025 - and are only available to producers with an active property identification code.
NSW Farmers' president Xavier Martin said with mandatory eID commencing from January 1, 2025, the NSW government must act quickly and reduce tag costs like the SA government so that producers can comply with government-mandated scheme.
Mr Martin said the association supported financial assistance for producers who were required to transition to government-mandated eID for sheep and goats and that tags should be no more than $1 per tag at retail during the transition period.
"This includes support for initiatives that reduce the cost of tags for producers like what the SA Government is rolling out from January 1 2024," Mr Martin said.
Mr Martin added that NSW Farmers supported ultra-high frequency and low frequency technology for eID identification in sheep, conditional on meeting the NLIS standards.
He said NSW Farmers provided conditional support to the sheep traceability reforms but the support for this was dependent on the following principles:
- Have jurisdictional harmonisation
- NLIS is the only system that is available for stock movement
- Be developed in consultation with producers
- A stage rollout over a five-year period
- Retain the option of tag free pathways
- Ensure the NLIS database has proven capability
- Be underpinned by an equitable funding arrangement across the supply chain
- Financially assist farmers and the supply chain to invest in technology
- Reduce tag costs to an economically affordable level
A spokesperson for NSW Agriculture Minister Tara Moriarty's office said the government had been raising at national discussions the need to develop a national approach to tag supply and thereby influence costs.
"Our goal is that a national supply approach could thereby take advantage of the national market size, which could then deliver a more sustainable and long-term discounted impact on tag costs, rather than ad hoc subsidies implemented in various states for short time periods," the spokesperson said.
Victoria, Western Australia and now South Australia have tag rebates already in place.
The spokesperson said the eID program was a nationally coordinated program and the NSW government had provided the largest amount of financial support for farmers across the sheep and goat supply chain.
"The NSW government responded to feedback from the reference group and extended the time frame till 2027, for producers to fully implement eID in their production system," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added the implementation plan for eID in NSW had been developed with participation from industry stakeholders, including NSW Farmers, through the sheep and goat traceability reference group.
SA Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said the move from the visual device and mob-based approach to eID for sheep and farmed goats on a national level was significant.
"The new point of sale eID tag discount scheme allows South Australian sheep and farmed goat producers to access this support in a fast and convenient way," she said.
Livestock SA president Joe Keynes welcomed the news.
"This is probably the best rebate in Australia and using the tag manufacturers and sellers as part of the rebate cuts down on admin for producers and for the government," he said.
The SA eID device rebate still remains open to producers for eligible tags purchased between January 1 2023 and December 31 2023.
Conversations are ongoing in SA about the rollout of a 75 per cent rebate for eID infrastructure for saleyards, agents, processors and feedlots.