Electronic livestock tags will cost 35 cents — the same as visual tags — when Victoria becomes the first state in Australia to mandate electronic ID for sheep and goats. The State Government today announced $17 million to help the sheep and goat industry adapt to the policy, which requires all lambs born in Victoria after January 1 to be tagged electronically.
The funding included up to $7.7 million to subsidise the cost of tags to farmers in the first year.
Until recently the cheapest electronic tags available in Victoria were 77 cents each, compared to 35-45 cents for conventional visual tags. Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the funding would also be used to educate farmers, saleyard and abattoir operators, agents, and processors adapt to electronic tagging.
Meeting with livestock agents and farmers in Ballarat, Ms Pulford said the transition package included funding for infrastructure grants and co-funded equipment grants expected to cover the cost of scanning equipment and software. “This transition will benefit our sheep and goat industry through stronger traceability and open up opportunities for increased productivity,” Ms Pulford said.
Saleyards and abattoirs will be required to receive both visual and electronically tagged sheep from July 1, until the electronic tags are fully implemented in 2022.
Ms Pulford had been expected to announce the compensation package in mid-October but the details were delayed.
Agent groups criticised the Government for its lack of consultation and detail since the plan to mandate EID was first announced in August.
“We haven’t heard a thing. They still haven’t fully answered all of our questions,” Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association chief executive Andy Madigan said earlier this week.
Mr Madigan told The Weekly Times he was not concerned about the approaching rollout date, because it was not feasible.
“If they set the dates and they don’t give us the information in time … we are not magicians, we are agents,” he said.
The Government said it had consulted with more than 400 stakeholders to arrive at the transition package.