Farm compliance officer numbers boosted, in wake of M bovis

Authorities are beefing up efforts to ensure farmers comply with biosecurity rules, with 27 new National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) compliance officers set to start work.

The NAIT scheme requires anybody in charge of cattle and deer to register their animals and record any animal movements.

Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance Manager, Gray Harrison, said the new officers are part of a stepped-up effort to educate farmers about their NAIT obligations, and enforce compliance with the scheme.

"The new officers will be located throughout the country helping farmers use NAIT consistently and taking action when non-compliance is detected," he said.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued 97 infringement notices to farmers for non-compliance with NAIT since the start of 2018.

"In addition, OSPRI (which manages the NAIT scheme) has issued more than 600 letters to farmers about non-compliance," said Mr Harrison.

He said there has been a steady increase in the number of animal movements recorded through NAIT.

"We're pleased to see there has been an almost 20 percent increase in the number of animal movements recorded this year compared to the same period in 2017."

Mr Harrison said it is essential all farmers, including lifestylers, register their cattle and deer in NAIT and record all animal movements.

"A well-functioning NAIT scheme is a vital part of our national biosecurity system as it helps MPI respond to and manage animal diseases, such as Mycoplasma bovis."

Meanwhile changes are being made by MPI and OSPRI to improve the scheme and ensure it is fit for the future.

Farmers have until 19 December to have their say on MPI's proposed law changes. More information about the consultation is available on the MPI website here