Livestock agents are vital to red meat industry integrity

19 June 2018

With livestock agents playing such a central function within Australia’s livestock marketing model, their commitment to upholding the necessary processes could not be more important according to Jo Quigley, Chief Operating Officer of Integrity Systems Company (ISC).

Customers in more than 100 markets globally expect the full traceability and food safety guarantee that is achieved through our National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program, and the accurate completion of National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) for every livestock transaction.

“The majority of livestock transactions in Australia involve stock agents. They are the link between industry and the producer. Agents have an important role in ensuring traceability and food safety, they are close to producers and guide them in being compliant with our integrity systems,” Ms Quigley said.

The integrity system requires that as animals are bought, sold and moved along the supply chain, they must be tagged with an NLIS-accredited tag or device and each movement is to be recorded centrally on the NLIS database, meaning animals are fully traceable in the event of disease or food safety incidents.

Ms Quigley said agents are instrumental in ensuring the necessary information is uploaded to the database in a timely manner, and in encouraging the accurate completion of NVDs by their clients. “As an industry, it was a reassuring to see that three Victorian agents were recently issued fines for not doing the right thing and failing to correctly record cattle movements,” Ms Quigley said.

It is important to note that the majority of livestock and property agents are strong advocates in our integrity system and these agents were not members of Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association (ALPA), the national peak industry body for livestock and property agents. “This is a timely reminder that everyone in the value chain - producers, agents, transporters, stockyards and processers - needs to take responsibility for their part in maintaining our integrity system.”