LIVESTOCK industry leaders are encouraging producers to be aware of changes to the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program, which come into effect from October 1.
Beef, sheepmeat and goat Industry leaders say Australian red meat enjoys access to more than 100 markets worldwide because customers trust that Australian product is the best quality, and is grown and produced safely and ethically.
The changes, which take effect from October 1, will introduce biosecurity and animal welfare requirements, as well as the need for producers to complete a short assessment, to gain or renew LPA accreditation.
“While this is a significant strengthening of the program, the process for producers is not onerous. The new requirements of good on farm biosecurity and animal welfare practices are already the every day for the vast majority of producers,” said Sheepmeat Council of Australia president Jeff Murray.
Dr Jane Weatherley, the chief executive officer of Integrity Systems Company, which manages LPA on behalf of the livestock industries, said the changes were a good opportunity for producers to revisit the on-farm requirements of their LPA accreditation.
“For most, little will change,” Dr Weatherley said. “The current version of the National Vendor Declaration remains the same, and while producers are encouraged to ensure they fully understand the changes by completing the online learning now, the need to do the assessment and renew accreditation is not immediate.”
Producers will only be required to renew their accreditation when it is due, once every three years, and every producer will be notified two months before it is time to do this. For example, some producers won’t receive a renewal notification until 2020 if they have renewed this year.
Since 2012, LPA has required producers to make a regular commitment to upholding its rules and standards. When renewing accreditation, producers will now complete a 14-question assessment, designed to verify knowledge and understanding of requirements.
The new requirements will be considered in LPA audits from 1 January 2018, however, sanctions will not be applied until July 2018.
“We are keen to ensure producers are guided through this process,” Dr Weatherley said.
“From January LPA auditors will assess the new requirements, however producers will have a further six months to ensure they have fully incorporated all necessary practices into their on-farm management before auditors will formally register non-compliance.”