New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA

FROM OCTOBER 1, 2017, new animal welfare and biosecurity modules will be added as part of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program, as well as regular assessment requirements to renew accreditation. All LPA accredited cattle, sheep and goat producers will need to comply with these changes to maintain access to the LPA National Vendor Declarations used when selling and moving livestock.
New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA New biosecurity and welfare requirements for LPA

Pamela Lawson

Changes are being made to the LPA program to ensure that the Australian livestock industry meets market expectations and maintains its reputation as a world leader for food safety and product integrity. 

The main changes are: 

  • the introduction of animal welfare and on-farm biosecurity modules,
  • producer assessment every three years to maintain LPA accreditation, and
  • an LPA accreditation fee. 

The integration of the on-farm biosecurity requirements into the LPA program, and the associated new national farm-based approach to Johne’s Disease (JD) management in cattle are both industry led initiatives. They focus on ensuring livestock producers are well prepared to manage the risk of infectious disease, pests and weeds on their properties.

NEW MODULES

From October 1, 2017, all LPA accredited sheep, goat and cattle producers will need to complete a Farm Biosecurity Plan to comply with the new LPA Biosecurity module. A separate plan should be completed for each Property Identification Code (PIC). 

This plan will demonstrate that as producers, they:

  • minimise the risk of introducing and spreading infectious diseases on their properties,
  • manage and record the introduction and movement of livestock,
  • where practical, control and record people, equipment and vehicles entering the property,
  • control and regularly monitor livestock health on farm, and
  • ensure all livestock movements between owners are accompanied by an Animal Health Declaration (AHD, or equivalent).

Cattle producers who have developed a Farm Biosecurity Plan as part of their approach to JD management will not need to complete another to meet LPA requirements. The completed biosecurity plan does not need to be submitted to anyone, but must be stored in a safe place for future reference. 

This has led to criticism from many producers, who question the validity and purpose of a plan that is not scrutinised until an LPA audit. They also point out that the plan has been developed by people with no vested interest in the industry. While the plan is simple to fill out, implementing it on-farm is more difficult, especially the practicalities of monitoring and recording the movement of people and vehicles over the property for example. There is also the need to clarify some requirements about things such as whether an AHD needs to accompany any animal movement (as an NVD/Waybill does) or just when there is a change in ownership? 

SIMPLE STEPS

To complete an on-farm biosecurity plan:

  • Download a template from Animal Health Australia (AHA) (www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au) or Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) (www.lbn.org.au)
  • Fill out the template and answer each question honestly. This will identify the biosecurity strengths and weaknesses of your property. A ‘no’ doesn’t mean you fail; it helps you find ways to improve your biosecurity practices over time.
  • Ensure your family and/or staff are familiar with your plan.
  • If you’re a sheep or goat producer, or a cattle producer seeking a score of J-BAS 6, complete the template and file. If you’re after J-BAS 7 or 8, work with your vet to finalise your plan.
  • There is no need to lodge your plan with anyone, but keep it somewhere easily accessible as you may be asked to provide a copy to buyers or LPA auditors.
  • Review and update your plan yearly.

For further information about biosecurity plans, workshops and telephone assistance, visit the LBN website. 

CATTLE PRODUCERS

Cattle producers wishing to identify and manage the risk of Johne’s Disease occurring in their herd by using Johne’s Beef Assurance Scores (J-BAS) will already be aware of on-farm biosecurity plan requirements for each PIC they control. In summary, the key points of the J-BAS system include:

  • herds with a transition score of J-BAS 7 or 8 will have changed to a J-BAS 6 if no biosecurity plan was in place by 1 July 2017,
  • producers who do not have a biosecurity plan can return their herds to J-BAS 7 or 8 by implementing a biosecurity plan signed by their vet, who can also advise on what testing is required,
  • a J-BAS of 6 with a biosecurity plan in place will meet the marketing requirements of most producers (without the need for a vet signature),
  • cattle moving into NT need a J-BAS of 6 (or higher) and a Cattle Health Declaration,
  • cattle moving into Western Australia need a J-BAS of 7 or 8 (depending on origin), and 
  • having sheep or goats on the property does not by itself affect J-BAS, but in giving cattle a J-BAS, producers need to take into account if and when JD was last seen in any species on the property.

For more information see Farming Ahead 305 (June 2017) pages 62-64.

ANIMAL WELFARE

To comply with the new LPA Animal Welfare module, producers must be able to demonstrate that their on-farm practices are consistent with the requirements of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines (S&G). 

This can be achieved by ensuring that a copy of the S&G for sheep, cattle and/or goats (as applicable) is available on-farm, that staff understand the requirements and the learning assessment has been successfully completed. The S&Gs are available from www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au.

ASSESSMENT AND ACCREDITATION

The new LPA accreditation renewal process will start from October 1, 2017, but producers do not need to complete the assessment prior to this date. Over the next three years, producers will be informed two months before their accreditation renewal is due, by email or post.

All LPA producers will need to renew their accreditation every three years to keep it current. Renewals will involve completing a short assessment covering the requirements of the program, and this will be conducted online or via telephone for those without a reliable internet connection. 

A new LPA accreditation fee will also be introduced from October 1, 2017, and will be collected upon completion of the assessment every three years. The fee will be $60 (plus GST) for each PIC reaccreditation. Where there are multiple LPA accredited producers operating on a single PIC, each accredited producer will be charged the fee. 

For more information on these LPA changes go to www.mla.com.au/integrity or call the LPA Helpdesk on 1800 683111.