Integrity for farm staff: what you need to know

Integrity for farm staff: what you need to know

08 March 2022
-Min Read
  • ISC recommends staff handling livestock complete a chemical users’ course as well as any other necessary training on administering animal treatments and maintaining animal welfare in line with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. 
  • Employees responsible for livestock husbandry should only select animals fit for transport according to the national Fit to Load guide and there are a range of resources available from the ISC website to assist staff and PIC owners with completing NVDs, NLIS transfers and farm record keeping.  
  • All farm staff should be aware of the Property Risk Assessment and Farm Biosecurity Plan for the property they are working on and monitor for food safety risks to livestock on-farm. 

From farm owners to farm hands and managers, everyone who works with livestock has an important role to play in the Australian red meat integrity system. 

Each property (PIC) must meet its requirements under the red meat integrity system’s two key programs, Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) and the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), to ensure livestock are safe to eat and fully traceable. By meeting your obligations under the integrity system, market access and consumer confidence in Australian red meat products can be guaranteed. Farm staff should be aware of your integrity system requirements – including the seven requirements of LPA – and how they should be met.  

If you have staff who work with livestock, here are three things you need to do to ensure integrity requirements are being met on-farm: 

1. Get the appropriate training  

If your staff are handling livestock as part of their work, they must learn how to meet the seven requirements of the LPA on-farm assurance program on the property. The LPA Guidebook provides a great overview of the LPA program requirements.  

They should also complete a chemical users’ course as well as any other necessary training to ensure they are competent in administering animal treatments.  

To ensure your property can maintain its LPA accreditation, all animal treatments must be administered by you or your staff in a safe and responsible manner. The details of all animal treatments must also be recorded and ISC recommends exploring the range of record keeping templates available on the ISC website which can assist with keeping farm records of animal treatments administered. More information and practical tips for administering safe and responsible animal treatments.  

Anyone involved in the handling and management of livestock should  have completed appropriate training on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines to ensure livestock are treated in accordance with these directives. All staff should have a copy of the Standards and Guidelines accessible to help them ensure animals are being treated appropriately. More information on LPA requirements around animal welfare.  

2. Know what you need to do when moving livestock  

If your staff are involved in transporting livestock as part of their work, they must help ensure that only animals fit for transport according to the National Fit to Load guide are selected for transport.  

If they are assisting you in completing an LPA National Vendor Declaration (NVD), it is important that they also know how to fill in the NVD so it is clear, correct and complete. This video provides a short guide to completing the LPA NVD. You can also view this webinar recording to take a closer look at the NVD questions.  

Have a staff member who is in charge of the farm office? Keep in mind that the details of all livestock movements on and off the property must be recorded to meet LPA requirements. Find out more about obligations for recording livestock movements or access ISC’s record keeping templates, which include all details that must be recorded.  

It is also the PIC owner’s responsibility to ensure that all livestock movements onto their PIC are recorded in the NLIS database. If you need assistance to complete the livestock transfer in the NLIS database, ISC’s NLIS how-to guides provide step-by-step instructions for transferring livestock on and off a PIC. Alternatively, in some situations, you may be able to set up third party access to your NLIS account so your farm staff can complete the transfer on your behalf.  

3. Record and respond to risks affecting livestock 

Every LPA-accredited PIC must have a current, documented Farm Biosecurity Plan and Property Risk Assessment to ensure that food safety can be guaranteed on-farm. Keeping good farm records helps certify the safety, traceability and integrity of your red meat products, so you can stand by what you sell.   

If your staff are working with livestock, ensure they are aware of the Farm Biosecurity Plan and Property Risk Assessment for the property so they can help you ensure biosecurity and minimise the risks of physical or chemical contamination on-farm. If they spot a risk on-farm, they can help you add this to the Biosecurity Plan or Risk Assessment along with any ways to minimise the risk so that food safety can be guaranteed.  

As part of efforts to monitor livestock for ill health or disease, it’s also a good idea to have set procedures in place to treat livestock that are sick and injured to assist you and your staff to manage animal welfare efficiently on-farm.  

Want to know more about your integrity obligations? Watch this webinar recording on the integrity system for farm staff or find more tips and tools to help with record keeping for LPA.