Program celebrates 10 years helping Bovine Johne’s disease affected farmers

(L-R) Campbell Trotter and David Allan receive their 10 year service awards from the National BJD Financial and Non-financial Assistance Package Chair Nick Keatinge.

(L-R) Campbell Trotter and David Allan receive their 10 year service awards from the National BJD Financial and Non-financial Assistance Package Chair Nick Keatinge.

More than 440 cattle producers have sought assistance through the Cattle Council of Australia’s (CCA) National BJD Financial and Non-Financial Assistance Package for help in managing the devastating social, economic and trade impacts of Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD). Last month, the Assistance Package, managed by Animal Health Australia (AHA) on behalf of CCA, celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

The internationally recognised Assistance Package is a unique program that provides non-financial counselling support, advice and financial assistance to manage the disease and help mitigate the impacts.

When called on for help by producers, BJD Counsellors conduct a situation assessment, assist with management and trading options, develop a disease-management plan and liaise with the supervising veterinarian on-behalf of the affected producer.

Where applicable, affected producers can also apply for funding to assist with implementing an Enhanced Property Disease Management Plan and other measures such as testing and stock slaughter to tackle the disease head on.

The two BJD Counsellors, David Allan and Campbell Trotter, were recognised for their dedicated service on 15 September. David and Campbell have been with the program since its inception.

AHA’s Project Officer, Livestock Welfare and Endemic Disease, Kelly Wall said the BJD Counsellors are often called upon to address the devastating effects of BJD.

“David and Campbell have provided support to BJD-affected cattle farmers all over Australia. They adopt a professional client-focused approach, based on empathy and good communication. David and Campbell understand the disease. They have a solid appreciation of the trade, economic and emotional impacts and are excellent at helping affected producers negotiate the regulations at the herd, regional and national levels,” Ms Wall said.

For more information visit AHA’s information page on the National BJD Financial and Non-financial Assistance Package.

First New South Wales woman wins RIRDC Rural Women’s Award

Pip Job with her award.

Pip Job with her award.

Grazier, environmental advocate and CEO Pip Job, was celebrated as the winner of the 2014 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Awards at a gala dinner held at Parliament House on Wednesday evening.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, congratulated Ms Job and Award runner-up, Jackie Jarvis of Western Australia.

“Women remain the cornerstone of so many farming operations, from manager of day-to-day activities, the farm labourer, the bookkeeper, and running the house. They are so often the most vital cog and unpaid.

“The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award is a leading awards program that recognises women in our rural communities. Winning the 2014 Rural Women’s Award allows the opportunity to further develop leadership skills. The role provides the platform to be a peer leader, building the networks of Australia’s rural women,” Minister Cash said.

“Ms Job and Ms Jarvis are a deserving winner and runner-up, and have the capability to drive innovation and productivity within primary industries and rural communities.

“These incredible women exert leadership in all aspects of their lives. They are leaders in their professional and business spheres, and they are leaders in their communities. They are role models to young girls and women within their communities, as well as to Australia more broadly. I thank them all for their very valuable contributions.”

On top of the $10,000 Pip won as part of the NSW state award, she will receive an additional $10,000 bursary through the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.


To view past winners of the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award, or for more information, visit’s-award  or

Quick action prevents Tasmanian weed incursion

SpottedwoolsheepThe vigilance of a Longford landholder has prevented the damaging weed Bathurst burr from taking hold and spreading in the Apple Isle.

Native to South America, Bathurst burr is one of the most common contaminants of wool, becoming entangled in the animal’s fleece and devaluing the product. The spines on the burrs can also damage the feet of sheep and other animals.

Bill Cox found Bathurst burr on his property after receiving Victorian sheep which were destined for slaughter within one week – hence hadn’t been shorn.

Bathurst burr isn’t known to be in Tasmania and as he didn’t recognise the weed, Mr Cox alerted the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) invasive species branch.

DPIPWE staff were able to trace back and find the Bathurst burr in other places the sheep had been, such as a truck wash and abattoir stockyards.

They also used the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) to identify other areas of Tasmania livestock had been introduced over the past few years, and discovered Bathurst Burr in stockyards in Circular Head.

Mr Cox’s efforts in investigating and reporting Bathurst burr have been applauded by members of the livestock industry and have been described as critical in stopping this weed in its tracks.

Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland said this is a good example of how quick thinking and action is vital in limiting the potential spread of pests, diseases and weeds and minimising the chances of them becoming widespread.

“Early intervention is vital in limiting and controlling the impact of diseases, pests and weeds. If you suspect – or have spotted – anything unusual and you’re not sure whether it’s an exotic pest, weed or disease, report it.

“Don’t worry how insignificant it may be. Small signs may be an early indication that something’s wrong,” Mr Rowland said.

If you have spotted anything unusual in your animals or on your property you can report it to:

  • the 24 hour EMERGENCY ANIMAL DISEASE WATCH HOTLINE on 1800 675 888
  • the EXOTIC PLANT PEST HOTLINE on 1800 084 881
  • your local veterinarian
  • the nearest Department of Primary Industries or Agriculture

Biosecurity tools and information

Find out how to protect your property from exotic weeds and pests and easily access helpful biosecurity information and tools at

For more information about biosecurity in Tasmania head to

NFF welcomes new CEO

New CEO Simon Talbot

New CEO Simon Talbot

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has a new CEO with Simon Talbot taking over the top job of Australia’s peak farm body from 20 October 2014.

NFF President Brent Finlay announced on Tuesday the appointment of Mr Talbot, who was former Director at Mondelēz International (Kraft/Cadbury) for seven years.

From a farming background, Mr Talbot previously held various Federal and state government advisory roles, providing insight into manufacturing, sustainable food production in the Asian century and economic development opportunities.

“On behalf of the NFF Board, Members’ Council and NFF Secretariat, I am delighted to welcome Simon and look forward to him joining the organisation,” Mr Finlay said.

Mr Talbot takes over from Matt Linnegar who filled the CEO position for the past three years.

“I thank Brent and the NFF Board for their confidence and I look forward to working with the members and the small but extremely talented team at the NFF,” Mr Talbot said.

“I am joining the NFF at an exciting time for farm sector representation and I look forward to working with members and more broadly, the agricultural sector.

“The NFF is a strong brand which is highly respected and I look forward to building on current work to streamline and strengthen the voice of Australian agriculture,” Mr Talbot said.

Married with four children, Mr Talbot and his wife run a Murray Grey stud in northern Tasmania, as well as holding other interests in the agricultural and food export sector.

Cutting red tape on stockfeed products

Renate Bossinger

Photo: Renate Bossinger

Australian farmers are said to be $10 million better off a year following an Australian Government decision earlier this month to cut red tape on low risk stockfeed products.

The removal of regulations will affect products such as vitamins, dietary supplements and some probiotic and enzyme products that are currently classified as veterinary chemicals.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimated this move will save farmers between $7.5 million and $10 million a year.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that ensuring farmers have access to high quality stockfeed to keep their livestock healthy was a critical part of farming and agriculture in Australia.

“The new regulations will still contain effective measures to safeguard human and animal health, environmental or trade risks that could jeopardise Australia’s $38 billion agricultural export trade.

“From 1 January 2015 the government, working with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, will make these low risk stockfeeds available to Australian farmers without the process costs and time an individual assessment can take.”

Minister Joyce made the announcement during a visit to a privately managed piggery in Gunnedah, New England.  The pig industry accounts for about 14 per cent of the more than 11 million tonnes of stockfeed used in Australia each year.

Public consultation opens for new Saleyard Welfare Standards

Wagga Saleyards 15The Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoria (DEPI) has opened consultation for the proposed Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Livestock at Saleyards and Depots (Saleyard Welfare Standards) and associated Regulation Impact Statement (RIS).

Interested parties are invited to comment about how the proposed standards will ensure the welfare of livestock at saleyards and if the associated RIS demonstrates the need for the Saleyard Welfare Standards.

The consultation period and submissions on the proposed Saleyard Welfare Standards and RIS must be received by Friday 12 December 2014.

A copy of the proposed Saleyard Welfare Standards, RIS and related documents can be found at:

Questions about submissions can be emailed to Dr David Champness, Project Manager, Saleyard Welfare Standards, Principal Veterinary Officer, Biosecurity Division, DEPI at:

Spring into action with your biosecurity planning

SpringlambsWith the arrival of spring, livestock producers are reminded to have their biosecurity plans in place as many pests, diseases and weeds attempt to make a comeback after the winter lull.

Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland said increased monitoring of stock, crops and pastures is an important biosecurity practise to implement this Spring.

“Spring time, particularly for the country’s southern production regions, means warmer weather, longer days and hopefully, some wet weather. However, this combination means pastures can be inundated with weeds that can harm livestock,” Mr Rowland said.

“Grazing pastures need to be monitored closely for outbreaks of poisonous and invasive weeds. During Spring make an effort to undertake additional inspections on your property to track and manage the spread of weeds. Producers should also consider developing a weed management plan and coordinating eradication or prevention programs with their neighbours.

“Warmer temperatures, combined with moist conditions can also encourage the spread of diseases like footrot. Increased monitoring of stock is vital in identifying early signs of disease and producers should not delay investigating and reporting signs of disease in their stock.”

Spring also keeps many sheep, cattle and goat producers busy with lambing, calving and kid rearing. Mr Rowland said there were a number of biosecurity measures that can help prevent diseases and losses in new born stock during this critical time of year.

“Cattle, sheep and goat producers should familiarise themselves with the risks of Johne’s disease infection in calves, lambs and kids,” he said.

“Goat producers can download the National Kid Rearing Plan from the goat industry page on the Farm Biosecurity website for information on mimimising Johne’s disease and caprine arthritis encephalitis.

“Dairy producers can download the Dairy Australia 3 Step Calf Plan on the Dairy Australia website. This plan guides producers on steps to minimise the risk of bovine Johne’s disease infections in newly born calves.”

Mr Rowland also reminds producers that there is heightened risk of stock losses through predation from wild and feral animals when new born animals arrive at the property.

“Importantly, with all new born stock on the property, producers should ensure steps are taken to minimise attacks from wild dogs, foxes and other predators,” he said.

“Producers are encouraged to develop a wild and feral animal control program, regularly check and mend broken fences, promptly dispose of any carcases lying around on the property and develop a coordinated approach with your neighbours to control ferals and wild animals in your area.”

New bovine Johne’s disease resource for cattle producers


Photo: Sharon Lohse

Cattle producers now have a new tool to help avoid and control bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) on their properties with Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) comprehensive suite of BJD pages on the AHA website.

These new webpages provide the latest, up-to-date information on the disease and are also useful for vets, stock agents, agriculture shows, breed associations or anyone associated with the dairy and beef cattle industries.

The webpages include:

• important information about Australia’s BJD strategic plan

• contact information for producers seeking further assistance

• BJD related documents for further reading

• recommended biosecurity practices to avoid the disease

• testing and diagnosis information.

BJD is an incurable infection of cattle and like ovine Johne’s disease, it is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis) that lives primarily in the intestines of infected animals. It causes the intestinal wall to thicken and reduces the normal absorption of nutrients from grazing. Symptoms include wasting and chronic diarrhoea. BJD results in lost production and causes infected animals to starve to death.

Cattle infected with BJD can often take months or even years before showing clinical signs and with the right conditions the bacteria can survive for long periods in the environment. These two factors are another reason why the disease can spread easily with little warning.

The Farm Biosecurity website also has a handy set of fact sheets about BJD in beef cattle that can be downloaded from the beef cattle industry page – simply scroll down to the resources section.

New aquatic project manager at AHA

Dr Jane Frances will manage AHA's new aquatic animal disease arrangements project.

Ms Jane Frances will manage AHA’s new aquatic animal disease arrangements project.

AHA members are waiting with ‘baited’ breath for the start of a new project dedicated to the development of formal industry-government aquatic animal disease response arrangements.

While Australia has long-standing joint industry–government arrangements in place for responses to livestock emergency diseases and emergency plant pests and diseases, until now, there’s been nothing formally in place for responding to emergency disease outbreaks in aquatic animals.

“Aquatic animal industries as well as governments have long recognised this as a significant gap in our national preparedness and response ‘tackle box’,” Dr Eva-Maria Bernoth, AHA’s Executive Manager EAD Preparedness and Response explained.

“We are extremely pleased that the Australian Government Department of Agriculture has provided us with funding for four years to help fill this gap”, Dr Bernoth said.

Spearheading the new project will be Ms Jane Frances from Biosecurity NSW, who has worked with aquatic industries since 1988 and in biosecurity roles since 2004.

During that time, Ms Frances has had hands-on involvement in emergency management including responses to a number of aquatic pest and disease incursions such as the NSW response to an outbreak of the oyster herpes virus.

No newcomer to the development of national arrangements, she was also the NSW representative on the Emergency Aquatic Animal Disease Response Arrangements Working Group and has been involved in discussions on the merits and challenges presented by developing cost-sharing arrangements for aquatic industries.

“We are extremely fortunate that Ms Frances will work with us and we are very grateful that Biosecurity NSW is making her available,” Dr Bernoth said.

“NSW has always been a strong protagonist for developing formal arrangements, and we at AHA, the aquatic team in the Department of Agriculture, and most of all Ms Frances herself are all eager to get work underway.”

Queanbeyan hosts hypothetical foot-and-mouth outbreak


Police, roads, emergency services, agricultural agencies, the RSPCA and about 100 cows were involved in the livestock standstill exercise.

A saleyard in Queanbeyan NSW last week was the scene of the latest Exercise Odysseus activity to enhance government and industry’s ability to respond if an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was to occur in Australia.

Staff from federal and state government biosecurity agencies, major livestock industries and other organisations including AHA members took part in Tuesday’s training exercise, just over the border from the Nation’s Capital.

The Queanbeyan exercise was just one of a series of simulated activities undertaken during the past 12 months to enhance Australia’s preparedness for, and implementation of, a national livestock standstill in response to an outbreak of FMD.

Stephen Hughes, Senior Manager, Biosecurity for Territory and Municipal Services said learnings from the exercise will help the ACT Government develop its emergency animal disease preparedness so it can quickly enforce a livestock standstill if needed and deal with the logistical challenges this would create.

“In the event of a FMD outbreak, we would not have time to review our response plans before taking action,” Mr Hughes explained.

“Decisions need to be made fast and appropriate actions taken quickly as the earlier the disease can be contained the better chance we have to reduce the impact on Australia’s ability to access exports markets including the wool, meat product and dairy industries.

“It is one thing to have plans in place, but it is vital to ensure the implementation of procedures is well rehearsed. This exercise has provided the practice that government and its industry partners need.”

Visit for more information about Exercise Odysseus