Biosecurity plans build consumer confidence and protect businesses
As part of Agriculture Victoria’s work to strengthen Victoria’s biosecurity system, workshops have been delivered across the state to help farmers with their on-farm biosecurity planning.
Sheep farmer Robert Barber attended the Dunkeld workshop to explore how he could improve their own farm biosecurity. 'I’m aware of the obligations we have as farmers, so we wanted to know what we needed to do and what our role was as farmers.'
He has properties across the Glenisla district in the south-west, with 4000 acres where he farms Merino and crossbreed sheep.
'Having good biosecurity makes family and friends aware that it’s not just ‘the farm’ – it is a business. Many people don’t recognise farming as a business but it’s exactly the same as a business in town – and it needs to be protected and rules must apply,' he said.
'Most farmers want to do the right thing, it's getting us all to understand what we need to do. Most farms, including ours, have got a lot of work to do, but we've got to start somewhere.'
On his own farm, he’s had to manage lice issues in his Merino sheep in the past and implements programs to limit the introduction of livestock onto his property. He also manages weeds on his land, with a particular issue in the region with gorse.
Before attending the workshop, he already had signage around his property to ensure biosecurity rules are followed on-farm by contractors and visitors. Since attending one of Agriculture Victoria’s Farm Biosecurity Planning Workshops, he has updated plans for boundary fencing, and improved chemical sheds for staff and livestock safety.
Agriculture Victoria’s biosecurity survey and interviews sought the views of many Victorians like Mr Barber, and the results are starting to shape conversations around the future of Victoria’s biosecurity system.
One theme to come through in the survey results was a broad acknowledgement of shared responsibility – that everyone has a role to play in Victoria’s biosecurity system. Mr Barber demonstrates how he’s playing his part in the system through measures he’s implementing on-farm.
'Everyone wants to know that the product they buy is safe, and we have to put the work in and be confident that what we as farmers are producing is safe.'
Access biosecurity planning advice and templates
Industry peak bodies are your best resource for accessing biosecurity planning information. Reach out to your industry peak body or association first.
- Livestock Production Assurance biosecurity plan
- Plant Health Australia Biosecurity Planning
- Animal Health Australia plan is designed for all species, there is also an app version available for phones and tablets
- The viticulture industry Farm Biosecurity Manual
- AUSVEG Farm Biosecurity Plan
- Dairy Australia has a Biosecurity Plan Tool (login required).