Wednesday, 01 August 2012 11:31

Farm database grows

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Two farm industry groups are joining the national farm database FarmsOnLine.

From September Ovis Management Ltd (OML) and Johne's Management Ltd (JML) will share their farmer contact details with the database.

"This is the information that we already use in our work to manage and control sheep measles and Johne's Disease in sheep and deer," says OML/JML joint chairman Geoff Neilson, Dunedin.

"We've been asked by FarmsOnLine to make it available to help ensure the database is as current as possible, and given that all of us in New Zealand agriculture depend so heavily on good biosecurity, we are more than happy to be involved."

Launched last year, FarmsOnLine is a spatial database application managed by MPI and provides a current list of farm contact details, so that in the event of an exotic disease outbreak, a fast, effective response can be launched.

Contact information will be limited to farmer names, addresses and phone numbers, Neilson says. Farmers will be contacted in writing in coming weeks and those who do not want their details held on the FarmsOnLine database can opt-out.

"We would encourage everyone to participate. It's in our own interests to have a fast, effective response system. Accidental introduction of a new disease like foot and mouth, for example, could be catastrophic not only for individual farmers, but the industry as a whole, not to mention the national economy.

"And protecting NZ agriculture is a growing challenge. The speed and volume of our trade with other countries is increasing which means every year the biosecurity risks are higher."

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