Productive Members’ Forum held in Canberra

AHA CEO Kathleen Plowman.

AHA CEO Kathleen Plowman.

The new AHA five-year strategic plan and forward estimates for the 2015-16 Annual Operating Plan  were amongst the topics for discussion at the AHA Members’ Forum in Canberra last Wednesday 26 November.

Kathleen Plowman, AHA CEO chaired the meeting, which was attended by AHA Board members, government and industry members, service providers and associate members.

The event included a round table discussion to review the draft AHA five year strategic plan and participants were presented with detailed information for discussion and further consideration leading up to the preparation of a final plan for approval early next year.

Presentations by each of Executive Managers responsible for each of AHA’s service streams followed, outlining project and program proposals for delivery in the 2015-16 financial year, and forward estimates of expenditure for all projects and programs.



Stock Health Monitor goes digital

SHM soon will be available exclusively online.

SHM soon will be available exclusively online.

Animal Health Australia’s specialist publication about livestock production conditions, Stock Health Monitor, is going digital.

The move caters for increasing internet usage by a growing number of producers [1]in Australia who will now have the opportunity to enjoy SHM delivered straight to their inboxes.

The final print issue of the bi-annual newsletter, the spring/summer edition, will be hitting mailboxes in the next week.

SHM provides Australia’s alpaca, cattle, goat and sheep producer communities with the latest information on avoiding, managing and controlling livestock production conditions, implementing best practice on-farm biosecurity measures and updates on the latest research and development.

It is a joint initiative between AHA and livestock industries in recognition that livestock production conditions impact the red meat value chain and Australia’s market access certification requirements.

SHM is published twice year; in spring/summer and autumn/winter.

Stories in this issue  include:

  • Spring into action with your biosecurity planning
  • A plan that doesn’t kid around with CAE and JD
  • Myth busted – no sheep breed is resistant to JD
  • New bovine Johne’s disease resource for cattle producers
  • News roundup

Download the spring/summer  issue of SHM here or by going to and click on the ‘Newsletters’ tab

Tell us what you think

We welcome feedback and contributions to SHM. If you have a story you would like considered for publication, please email

Articles should be around 200-600 words. Please note that any submissions will be edited for clarity, style and length to ensure they fit meet AHA style and standards.

Photos are greatly appreciated but should be high resolution – 300 dpi or larger than 2MB. Please provide a photo credit and written confirmation that you have permission to use it (e.g. name, organisation, date).

We hope you enjoy reading this issue of SHM!


[1] Farm Biosecurity 2013 Producer Survey Summary

Input wanted for identifying current wild dog investment

WilddogProducers and other groups affected by wild dogs are being urged to take part in a national survey to map current investment in wild dog management and to determine future priorities.

It is estimated that wild dogs cost the Australian economy $48–60 million annually as a result of production losses, disease transmission in livestock and control costs.

A key tool in tackling Australia’s wild dog problem is The National Wild Dog Action Plan which was endorsed by government and industry and launched in July this year.

The Plan aims to provide a better coordinated, resourced and focused national and cross-industry response to the escalating problem of wild dog predation, with responses from the survey helping to determine priorities and activities for implementation.

Input is needed from stakeholders who are directly or indirectly involved with, or affected by, wild dogs including:

  • producers (wool, sheepmeat, cattle, goats)
  • local control groups
  • regional entities (including Natural Resource Management groups, Local Government, Parks and Wildlife Services, Local Land Services, Regional Biosecurity Groups)
  • state/territory governments (eg. agriculture, environment)
  • research and development organisations
  • any other organisations that contribute to the control of wild dogs in Australia, including animal health and welfare groups and mining companies

The survey takes about 5 – 10 minutes to complete.  Responses will be accepted until Monday 15th December.

For more information contact:

Michele Jackson,


Wild Dog Group meets in Canberra

AHA met with other industry bodies such as WoolProducers Australia, Cattle Council of Australia, Goat Industry Council of Australia, Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation met in Canberra this week for the inaugural Wild Dog Stakeholder Consultative Group meeting.

This aim of the meeting was to build on and strengthen wild dog management work, consistent with local priorities and imperatives in the national interest.


Sheepmeat Council elects Jeff Murray as new President

New President Jeff Murray.

New President Jeff Murray.

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA), the nation’s peak sheepmeat body, has elected Jeff Murray as its new President at the Council’s Annual General Meeting in Sydney this week.

Jeff Murray, a prime lamb producer from Beverley in Western Australia, is excited about the opportunity to represent producers on issues affecting the sheepmeat industry.

“I would like to thank the Council for their support in electing me as their leader, and thank Ian McColl for the significant contributions he has made to the sheep industry over the past three years as President.

“I am excited to be able to lead the industry through an important period in its history. There are many opportunities for our industry, but there are also a number of challenges we must address if we are to increase production and meet the growing demand for our premium product.

“Our exports are growing and we have significant opportunities in a diverse range of markets, which we hope will increase returns for producers at the farm gate.

“At this critical time, there is a lot of activity around defining structures and roles in the industry. It is of upmost importance that we continue to improve our research & development, marketing and the industry systems that have helped underpin the success of the sheepmeat industry”, Mr Murray said.

Mr Murray has most recently served as SCA’s Vice-President and takes over the Presidency role from Central West New South Wales producer Ian McColl, who has completed his maximum three year term as President.

Alexander MacLachlan, a producer from Linden Park in South Australia was elected as SCA Vice-President. David Boyle from York in Western Australia was elected as SCA’s Honorary Treasurer

Cattle Council of Australia elects new President

New CCA President Howard Smith. Photo: CCA

New CCA President Howard Smith. Photo: CCA

The Cattle Council of Australia board have today elected Howard Smith as President.

Howard takes over the role from Andrew Ogilvie, who has completed his maximum three-year term as President.

“First and foremost, I would like to personally thank and commend Andrew for the role that he played as Cattle Council President.

“The contribution that Andrew has made to the beef industry was not without significant time away from his own family and business. Andrew was President of Cattle Council during a period of transition and throughout his tenure he made a number of difficult decisions with the best interests of the industry at the forefront of his mind.”

Howard operates a breeding, fattening and trading beef operation with his family in Rolleston, Central Queensland and is also the immediate past-Chair of the Agforce Cattle Board. Howard has been a driving force behind the development of the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System and is determined to find opportunities for producers to gain premiums and increase transparency.

“I am extremely proud to be elected into this position,” Mr Smith said.

“The beef industry is currently confronting significant challenges, including discussion around industry restructure, consumer interest in sustainability and animal welfare and the continued challenge of farm-gate prices.

“If we are going to provide the best possible representation for Australian beef producers, the industry representational structure must be solid.

“The areas that I see as being integral to my role at Cattle Council are ensuring that the industry structure is solid and supporting the beef language review,” Mr Smith said.

Tony Hegarty from Cassilis, NSW, was elected Vice President and Paul Saward, Redpa, Tasmania, was re-elected as Chairman of the Finance & Audit Committee.

Beef and dairy producers join forces to combat BJD

Some of the members of the Tasmanian Cattle Health Taskforce.

Some of the members of the Tasmanian Cattle Health Taskforce.

Representatives from across the Tasmanian beef and dairy industries have joined forces to form the Tasmanian Cattle Health taskforce.

The move has been prompted by a need to improve awareness and understanding of optimal cattle health, welfare and biosecurity practices.

One of the first actions of the Taskforce is strategising ways to increase producers’ awareness of management options to prevent the introduction and spread of Bovine Johne’s disease.

The Taskforce was established after Tasmanian Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) Regional Officer Dr Jess Coad invited industry representatives to workshop the impact of pests and diseases on Tasmanian cattle.

“Cattle pests and diseases can influence the health, welfare and productivity of infected animals, which can ultimately influence the sustainability and profitability of the industry.

This Taskforce will strategise ways they could be better controlled, and possibly eradicated, through targeted cattle health management and on-farm biosecurity practices,” Dr Coad explains.

The Taskforce members represent beef and dairy producers, abattoirs, milk processing companies, veterinarians, government, advocacy bodies, livestock agents, and livestock health, welfare and biosecurity extension programs.

“Importantly, Taskforce members have on the ground experience, and are able to identify where industry knowledge is lacking, and are able to strategise ways those gaps can be filled,” she concludes.

The inaugural chair of the Taskforce is Dr Craig Dwyer, of Smithton Veterinary Service – a past committee member of the Tasmanian division of the Australia Veterinary Association and state representative for the Australian Cattle Vets.

If you would like to find out more about the Cattle Health Taskforce, or become a member, please contact Craig Dwyer or Jess Coad on 0429 696 667 or 0488 400 209

AHA takes the lead in national RD&E

AHA0353_Animal_Biosecurity_CoverAnimal Health Australia (AHA) is moving ahead in its lead role in implementing the.National Animal Biosecurity Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Strategy.

One of the latest steps was the appointment of Annette Brown, who is providing administration, coordination and support to stakeholders in implementing the strategy.

The strategy is sponsored by the Australian Egg Corporation on behalf of the RDC’s and NSW Department of Primary Industries for the state and territory governments.

It is one of eight cross-sectoral strategies under the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework, and also links with national biosecurity RD&E requirements listed under Schedule 8 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB).

As part of this venture, AHA is responsible for brokering partnerships among animal biosecurity RD&E funders, providers and end users to enable more strategic, coordinated and collaborative research that meets national biosecurity priorities and addresses future capability gaps and needs.

AHA has worked with stakeholders – including nine animal-based research and development corporations (RDCs), universities with veterinary faculties, the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), state and territory governments, Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) and the Australian Government, to develop the strategy,. It was endorsed by the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee (AgSOC) in late 2013 and published in June 2014.

For more information:

Annette Brown

Biosecurity RD&E Coordinator

Animal Health Australia

P: 02 6203 3943


AHA’s new look Annual Report now available

AHA AR 2013-2014_CoverOn the outside AHA’s Annual Report 2013–14 looks deceptively similar to last year’s publication, but don’t judge a book by its cover.

This year’s report has been revamped to make it easier for Members to find summaries of AHA’s projects, program deliverables and outcomes, company activities and financial performance during 2013–14.

It is made up of five main sections:

  • Year in review reflecting AHA’s key highlights during 2013–14
  • About us with introductory reports by the AHA Chair and CEO as well as information about staff and the AHA board and project management. This includes summaries of the successes, highlights, program deliverables and outcomes of each of AHA’s key program areas (Biosecurity, EAD Preparedness and Response, Market Access Support and Corporate and Member Services)
  • A new section dedicated to AHA’s Communications activities during the reporting period
  • Corporate Governance
  • Financial statements including program expenditure for 2013 – 14

The AHA Annual Report 2013–14 is now available in an accessible pdf format on the website, making it easily available to everyone.

Copies of the report were posted out to Members last week and were printed on recycled paper stock ‘Revive Laser’– sales of which support Landcare Australia.

To request additional hard copies of the Annual Report 2013–14, please contact AHA’s Publications Coordinator Kat Crichton on 02 6203 3937 or email

AHA wins public relations state award

AHA Communication Manager Lisa Borthwick with AHA Communication Coordinator Harley McNarmara.

AHA Communication Manager Lisa Borthwick with AHA Communication Coordinator Harley McNarmara.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) has been named the ACT state winner in the annual Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) Golden Target Awards for 2014.

The award was won by AHA’s communications team for increasing biosecurity awareness at the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) biennial BeefWorks national conference last year – which was for the first time held at a remote feedlot at Jondaryan, near Toowoomba in south-east Queensland.

“This unique venue provided the AHA team with an opportunity to not just tell more than 450 conference participants about how easy it is to implement on-farm biosecurity, but we could also show them,” said Lisa Borthwick, AHA Communication Manager.

“Our primary objectives and key outcomes were firmly aimed at increasing awareness about the Farm Biosecurity Program and the information and tools available to all producers on the Farm Biosecurity website. However, our main challenge was to devise simple, yet effective activities we could deliver that would demonstrate good biosecurity practices.”

The resulting creative communication strategy and implementation plan – aided by financial support from ALFA to assist in the delivery – was what contributed to the entry winning the award.

“We broke our tactical approach into manageable parts – but broadly we aimed to introduce all participants to the biosecurity message on arrival at the feedlot, repeat the message and introduce another activity at the registration point inside the property, provide collateral through an information booth and be part of the official proceedings by asking the ALFA president to officially launch the National Biosecurity Manual for Beef Cattle Feedlots,” Ms Borthwick said.

“We largely won the award for our innovation, but we were also able to show the impact of our work through a thorough evaluation.”

That evaluation showed that in addition to directly exposing around 450 people to the biosecurity message over the two-day conference, an additional 150 biosecurity manuals were distributed on the spot and visits to the Farm Biosecurity website had an eight-fold increase in visitors to the lot feeding pages in the three weeks following the event.

The award was presented to the AHA BeefWorks event team leader Harley McNamara – who delivered the acceptance speech – and Ms Borthwick at a special PRIA event in Sydney last week. The third member of the BeefWorks team, Jude Nettleingham, AHA’s Learning and Development Coordinator was unable to attend due to work commitments.

As state award winners, AHA now automatically enters the PRIA National Golden Target Award pool. The national winners will be announced at the PRIA national conference and AGM to be held in Brisbane later this month.

Updated AUSVETPLAN resources

Photo: Livestock Industries

Photo: Livestock Industries

Following consultation and endorsement by industry and government, Animal Health Australia (AHA) has published updated versions of the AUSVETPLAN Enterprise Manual: Zoos, and AUSVETPLAN Disease Strategy: African swine fever.

Zoo Enterprise Manual

The recently revised AUSVETPLAN Enterprise Manual: Zoos is aimed at both government officers and zoo industry personnel who may be involved in emergency animal disease (EAD) preparedness. For government personnel, including those not familiar with the industry, the manual brings together operational guidelines, plans of action and other resources for dealing with EADs and gives an important overview of the zoo industry.

For industry personnel, including owners or managers, the manual provides guidelines on their responsibilities during an EAD outbreak, and strategies that may be adopted to improve preparedness for, or to handle, a suspected EAD.

Publication of this manual follows widespread consultation within the zoo industry and with government.

Enterprise manuals, a component of the Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN), are prepared for animal industries in which the risk of harm from an EAD is expected to be higher than normal. Although zoos are not considered risk enterprises to other premises and are unlikely to affect the nature of an outbreak, zoos need to consider EAD preparedness for their own facilities.

African swine fever Disease Strategy

An integral part of AUSVETPLAN, this disease strategy sets out the updated and approved starting policy and guidelines for agencies and organisations involved in a response to an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in Australia. It also provides advice on quarantine and movement controls that will apply during an outbreak.

ASF is listed in the Government and Livestock Industry Cost Sharing Deed in Respect of Emergency Animal Disease Responses (EADRA).

AUSVETPLAN is a series of technical response plans that describe the proposed Australian approach to an exotic animal disease incursion. AHA manages the continued improvement of AUSTVETPLAN on behalf of our government and industry members.

Access the latest manuals and supporting documents on the AHA website.