Friday, April 19, 2024

NAIT non-compliance not always deliberate

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As farmers prepare to move cows to winter grazing, OSPRI is urging NAIT compliance to be front of mind.
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Many farmers think they are NAIT compliant but might not be.

Southland dairy farmer Nigel Johnston said even though compliance rates were improving there are still a lot of farmers that aren’t NAIT compliant.

Compliance was especially key as farmers prepared to move cows to winter grazing, he said.

Johnston’s own herd tested positive for TB in 2011, and it took about 18 months for his herd to be TB free.

He has been involved with OSPRI ever since and is on the OSPRI farmer committee.

Most farmers were not willfully non-compliant, but often did not follow NAIT requirements exactly, he said.

“They think they’re compliant. They don’t know what they don’t know,” Johnston said.

An example of such non-compliance was that if an animal lost a tag many farmers would often just buy a new one. But to be NAIT compliant they needed to re-tag the animal and register the tag online, he said. 

From a practical point of view simply tagging the animal feels right, but from a legal point of view this was not the case and the tag had to be registered, he said.

Besides farmers avoiding fines by being NAIT compliant, the meat industry as a whole benefited as compliance meant there was a lifetime of traceability for an animal, Johnston said.

With cows about to be moved to winter pasture, now was a good time to be on top of NAIT compliance. OSPRI was holding training sessions on the topic at the moment, he said.

Head of Traceability at OSPRI, Clifton King, said a common misconception is that NAIT tags come pre-registered by the supplier, but this isn’t the case. 

“Every time you apply a NAIT tag, you need to follow up by registering that animal in the NAIT system. Animals need to be tagged within 180 days of birth or before their first off-farm movement, whichever comes first. You have up to seven days to register the animal after tagging, or before it first moves, whichever comes first.”

“Whether you’re sending or receiving animals, you need to make sure you’re recording a movement in the NAIT system within 48 hours. You don’t need to wait for the other person to record their side, make sure you do your part and make your NAIT movements,” King said.

“All cattle going to grazing must be tagged and registered in the NAIT system before they move. When you register an animal, you link it to its NAIT tag for life and provide important traceability information, like the birthdate and production type, that is crucial in the event of a disease outbreak.”

NAIT is about location, not ownership. Scanning animals as they leave your property for grazing and when they come back can help ensure the correct tag numbers are recorded in the NAIT system, he said.

“It can be useful to get your grazier’s NAIT details ahead of time, this can make recording the movements in the NAIT system a lot easier.

“Whenever animals move, they need to be accompanied by an Animal Status Declaration form (ASD). This provides the new PICA (person in charge of animals) with important health information about the animals. This can be a paper ASD or you can sign up for eASD in MyOSPRI,” he said.

All infringements  under the NAIT Act are laid out in secondary legislation called Infringement offences.

King said the most common infringement is the failure to register animals, which meant a $400 fine per animal.

Jenna McCabe, who does engagement and support for Ospri on Southland, says NAIT drop-in sessions have been really successful.

When McCabe is in an area farmers can book a time-slot with her and iron out any issues they had with NAIT.

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