Grain Producers Australia Chair, Barry Large, says the number of biosecurity signs being handed out at agricultural field days is a positive sign, but much more still needs to be done to protect growers.
Mr Large attended the Dowerin Machinery Field Days yesterday, meeting up with Grains Biosecurity Officer (GBO) Jeff Russell, where he handed out signage to many growers to place on their farm gates and fencing.
“With the recent heightened awareness about biosecurity across the country it was fantastic to see the popularity of the biosecurity signs at the field days in my home state of Western Australia (WA),” he said.
“These signs are going out onto farms in different grain growing regions and will be put to good use, raising awareness on biosecurity and reducing the risks of spreading weeds, pests and diseases.
“Biosecurity is critical and we need to be vigilant, which is why GPA is continually working for growers with Plant Health Australia (PHA) and other stakeholders to deliver these resources and safeguard our farms.”
Mr Russell is one of the five GBO’s in the national Grains Farm Biosecurity Program which is managed by PHA and funded by grain producer levies through GPA, together with state governments in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and WA.
The GBO’s work to improve the management of, and preparedness for, biosecurity risks in the grains industry at the farm and industry levels. This includes grass-roots initiatives that help raise awareness and provide practical resources and communications such as farm gate biosecurity signs, fact sheets, pocket guides, biosecurity tool kits and on-farm planning.
GPA has also attended other fields days this month, as part of a national mental health initiative, meeting with Biosecurity Officers in other States, where this signage is also in high demand.
GPA Chief Executive Colin Bettles said the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program is central to GPA’s work representing Australian grain producers, to strengthen biosecurity protections on multiple fronts and deliver on strategic aims to bolster productivity and sustainability.
“We know the threat of varroa mite, foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease is front of mind right now so it was good to see a high level of interest in farm-gate biosecurity signs,” he said.
“There was also great engagement with many people wanting to talk about biosecurity, asking questions about what they can do to get ahead of the risks and protect their farm businesses.
“However, you don’t need to be at the field day or other events to be able to access the resources provided by GBO’s and their advice – simply call or visit their website.”
On the topic of on-farm biosecurity, PHA CEO, Sarah Corcoran, said: “Establishing good biosecurity practices on farm is not only good for individual businesses but it also adds another layer of protection to Australia’s world-class biosecurity system.”
Grains Farm Biosecurity Program tools and resources
Pictures and Captions:
WA Grains Farm Biosecurity Officer Jeff Russell (left) with GPA Chair Barry Large at the Dowerin Machinery Field Days.
NSW Grains Farm Biosecurity Officer Kate Glastonbury, with GPA Northern Director and Moree grain producer, Matthew Madden, and NSW Farmers Senior Plant Industries Policy Advisor, Elen Welch, at AgQuip with the farm-gate biosecurity signs.
SA Grains Farm Biosecurity Officer Shafiya Hussein with her biosecurity display at the Eyre Peninsula Field Days.
Victorian Grains Farm Biosecurity Officer Jim Moran at the Mallee Machinery Field Days, with his display, including the farm-gate biosecurity signs.