The cattle feedlot industry has called on other State Governments to formally recognise quality assurance programs, after the sector’s National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme recently became the first to be recognised under Queensland’s environmental regulations.
Australian Lot Feeders Association president Don Mackay said the regulatory amendments to recognise NFAS marked not only the end of an arduous four-year process, but an important acknowledgment of the environmental credentials of the program and the industry.
“The regulatory amendments also serve as a win-win for industry and Government with accredited lotfeeders receiving a 20 percent discount on environmental license fees, while Government is no longer burdened by the costs associated with auditing feedlots from an environmental perspective,” Mr Mackay said.
The outcome additionally delivered industry-wide benefits by encouraging the small minority of lotfeeders who are not NFAS-accredited to join, and hence adhere to the program requirements.
“NFAS was the first agricultural quality assurance program implemented in Australia. Since it was initiated in 1996, it has significantly evolved such that the industry now exceeds both Government legislative requirements and community expectations,” Mr Mackay said, in a statement issued this morning.
“This process of continual improvement has involved the regular review and update of the various components of NFAS, including the National Environmental Feedlot Code of Practice, the document that underpins the industry’s environmental requirements.”
Importantly, NFAS also covers animal welfare, food safety and product integrity and as such served as an important vehicle to deliver industry standards and improvements across a suite of issues.
A key aspect of the program was the requirement that all accredited lotfeeders be independently audited each year.
“With the program also independently managed by Government and industry, it has both credibility and integrity, and this is why the Queensland Government has recognised NFAS within regulations,” Mr Mackay said.
ALFA had strongly advocated over many years for the introduction of commercial and regulatory incentives to encourage and reward lotfeeders involved in NFAS.
“Given the benefits to both industry and Government from the initiative, we call on other state jurisdictions to introduce similar regulatory measures,” Mr Mackay said.