NSW Farmers and Local Land Services are preparing to deliver their final foot-and-mouth disease workshop in Dubbo on Tuesday, helping the agriculture sector prepare for the worst-case scenario.
A highly contagious animal disease that caused serious concern when it arrived in Indonesia last year, FMD affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and pigs.
While the disease is not present in Australia, NSW Farmers Biosecurity Committee chair Ian McColl said it posed an enormous biosecurity threat to the agriculture sector and the broader Australian economy.
“Being prepared for an FMD outbreak is very important, because we’ve seen from overseas that the scale of the economic impact gets worse the longer an outbreak goes on,” Mr McColl said.
“Infected countries find themselves isolated from the global livestock trade, and an incursion of FMD into Australia would lead to a loss in production of meat and milk, cessation of trade, and necessary slaughter of many animals.
“This is something that could impact not just farmers but tourism operators and many regional communities if it was to arrives on our shores.”
A series of information sessions for farmers were hosted by NSW Farmers and Local Land Services over the past month, with experts detailing how to identify foot-and-mouth disease, know what to do if there was a suspected case, and what could be done on-farm to help prepare.
“Local Land Services plays an important role in preventing emergency animal diseases and controlling pest animals such as deer or pigs, which can spread this disease,” Mr McColl said.
“This is why we’ve been advocating for better control efforts of pest animals, particularly pigs, which are exploding in number across parts of the state.
“Biosecurity at our borders is important, but so too is biosecurity here at home.”
An FMD workshop will be held from 11am – 1pm on Tuesday, May 30 at the Dubbo RSL. All farmers and farm employees are welcome. To register or for more information, head to www.nswfarmers.org.au/fmdinfo
Source: NSW Farmers