Farmers at the frontline – MPs support biosecurity efforts

Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders, Ian Poe North Coast LSS, Regional NSW Minister Paul Toole, dairyman John Ussher, Oxley MP Melinda Pavey and Lauren Wilson North Coast LSS display signs available to all farmers.

POSITIONING farmers so they are ready to manage a possible outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth or Lumpy Skin Disease had Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders, Regional NSW Minister Paul Toole and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey at Ussher and Townley Dairy at Bowraville this week.

The Ussher and Townley Dairy, running 1200 cows, already has FMD signage and a visitor register displayed at their dairy, and on gates and fences.

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John Ussher told News Of The Area that “We’ve been promoting our biosecurity plan for the last two years or more, as our dairy is situated right on the roadway we are in a very vulnerable position from visitors coming into our dairy and paddocks without first taking precautions.”

“It is important to understand that visiting farms unannounced puts our farmers’ livelihoods at risk, you need to stay away from farms,” said Melinda Pavey MP.

“It’s very important for visitors to contact the farmer before entering the property at all entry points, to reduce the threat of contamination.

“Our top priority is ensuring FMD and LSD never reach our shores, and we’ve been pushing hard for stronger biosecurity measures for all our airports to further reduce the risk of contamination,” Ms Pavey said.

“Farmers can play their part by being alert for warning signs, regularly monitoring livestock and quickly reporting any suspect cases,” said Mr Toole.

Lauren Wilson and Ian Poe, North Coast Local Land Services (LLS), will connect with farmers through a series of targeted workshops, webinars, visits to saleyards and field days to help farmers identify and report the early signs of both FMD and LSD.

Mr Saunders said, “We also have hundreds of LLS biosecurity signs available across the State for farmers to use and to warn people of the risks of bringing unwanted pests onto your property.

“Farm biosecurity plans are the foundation of our state’s preparedness when it comes to new animal and plant disease,” he said.

“These can be simple measures built into day-to-day operations that will help protect your farm and ultimately, our State.”

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a serious and highly contagious animal disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, camelids, deer and pigs.

Cloven-hoofed animals are those with divided hooves.

FMD is caused by a virus.

The virus survives in living tissue and in the breath, saliva, urine, and other excretions of infected animals.

It can also survive in contaminated materials and the environment for several months in the right conditions.

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a viral disease of cattle and water buffalo that causes relatively low mortality; however, the disease can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses.

The disease is spread primarily by biting insects such as certain species of flies, mosquitoes and possibly ticks.

If livestock exhibit unusual signs they must be reported immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or their Local Land Services district veterinarians.

Farmers interested in learning more about FMD or LSD, or in attending an upcoming event are encouraged to visit,-weeds-and-diseases/biosecurity-alerts/foot-and-mouth-disease-and-lumpy-skin-disease for more information.


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