Farmers urged to join the fight against FMD

FARMERS are being encouraged to participate in the NSW Government’s largest ever pest management campaign to minimise the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) spreading through feral animal populations if an incursion was to occur.

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the NSW Government’s Spring Offensive program will not only reduce the risk of FMD spreading across the country, it will also play a critical role in protecting primary producers’ top-quality food and fibre.

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“The NSW Government has already carried out pest management on more than 60 million hectares of land in regional NSW over the last twelve months, but we are now calling on farmers to ramp up control efforts by participating in baiting and trapping on private land and allowing aerial culls,” Mr Saunders said.

“Our absolute priority is ensuring FMD never reaches Australian shores, but we need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

“If FMD did enter NSW, the danger of the disease spreading from property to property through feral animals is real, particularly following back-to-back seasons of favourable conditions for pests.

“Coordinated pest management, in collaboration with landholders, is the only way to get on top of feral populations, which is particularly important in preparedness for a potential outbreak of FMD in Australia.”

Over the past twelve months, almost 38,000 pest animals have been culled through Local Land Services’ aerial culling operations, including more than 32,000 feral pigs.

In the same time period, aerial baiting operations have dropped baits along nearly 20,000km of bait lines, equivalent to a distance almost halfway around the globe.

Mr Saunders said while NSW is leading the way in coordinated pest management, now is not the time for complacency.

“We are asking landholders to get in touch with Local Land Services about what control programs they can take part in to make the campaign as effective as possible,” Mr Saunders said.

“If you’re not already part of a local biosecurity group, Local Land Services can provide advice and also connect you with neighbours to talk about pest management operations that can be done together.

“Local Land Services will also work with public land managers including NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services, Forestry Corporation and Crown Lands to deliver control programs.”

Local Land Services provides specialist advice on pest control techniques and can assist land managers with training, supply of poisoned baits and implementation strategies.

To discuss pest management on your property contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

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