Thursday, May 19, 2022

Nait consults on levy increase

The National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (Nait) manager, Nait Limited, has begun formal consultation with farmers and collection agents on proposed increases to Nait levies.

Nait head of traceability Kevin Forward says levies have historically been kept low, but recent experiences with M bovis and bovine TB show that not having the right systems in place will be costly.

The National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (Nait) manager, Nait Limited, has begun formal consultation with farmers and collection agents on proposed increases to Nait levies.

Together with proposed increases in Crown and deer industry contributions, these levies will be used to continue the important work Nait Limited has been doing since the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in 2017 to improve the traceability system, so that it is easy for farmers to use and it performs in the event of a disease outbreak.

Head of traceability Kevin Forward said farmers rely on Nait to provide the tools and information they need to help reduce their on-farm biosecurity risk and manage disease. 

“Having accurate, up-to-date on-farm data and a reliable animal tracing system plays a vital role in limiting the impact of a disease outbreak, supports food assurance and helps NZ maintain access to international markets,” Forward said.

“However, the M bovis outbreak in 2017 showed us that the Nait system was not performing as it should, and farmers have told us that the system is difficult to use.”

Since then, Nait Limited has been working with its stakeholders to improve the system, to make it easier for farmers to understand and meet their obligations and to ensure the system performs in the event of a future outbreak.

In 2012, the tag levy was set at $1.10, then reduced over time to $0.90.

The slaughter levy was set at $1.35 and was reduced to $0.50 per head. 

An increase in the tag levy to $1.35 and the slaughter levy to $1.77 has now been proposed.

Forward says levies have historically been kept low.

“But they were designed to be flexible – to change when we needed them to – and they haven’t been reviewed or increased since 2014. We have delayed any increase for as long as possible while we used reserves and established a plan to deliver,” he said.

“We acknowledge the proposed increases come at a time when many farmers are already under financial pressure, but we also know from our experience with M bovis and bovine TB that, if we have another disease outbreak, not having the right systems in place will cost much more.”

Formal consultation will take place between January 21 and February 25.

For more information about the consultation go to: www.ospri.co.nz/nait-levy-consultation

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