Friday, November 28, 2014

Massive Government subsidy for egg farm

Governments in all States, as well as the Federal lot are always squealing about the need to balance their budgets and producing excuses for cutting services to taxpayers.

But it doesn't stop them from finding money to support pet projects.

The latest example is the South Australian Government's decision to provide a $500,000 grant to expand an existing commercial egg farm.

How is it that politicians believe it's OK to pour money into a private business while cutting services to just about everyone else? This grant is a massive subsidy for one farm which will provide unfair competition for those free range egg producers who've used their own money, or had to borrow at commercial rates to establish and expand their businesses.

Here's a link to the announcement from the SA Government.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Egg stamping now compulsory

From this week, all eggs sold in Victoria must be stamped with a farm identification code.  The numbers have been issued by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries to improve food safety. It should also help to reduce egg substitution.
Producers or shops selling eggs which are not stamped should be reported to the local Council Health Department. Council Environmental Halth Officers are responsible for the enforcement of this national standard.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bird flu in UK is impacting on producers

Outbeaks of avian influenza are devastating for the egg industry - as was seen in NSW last year and is now being experienced in Europe. Here's a report about the latest outbreak in UK.
Egg farmers in Australia, and everywhere else need to heed biosecurity principles to protect their own businesses and their fellows in the industry.
All egg farmers here are currently paying for the greed of one or two farmers in NSW who risked everything to make a quick buck.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Free Trade Deal with China

Well the so-called 'free trade' deal with China has been negotiated. The deal has been widely welcomed even though the full implications for Australian agricultural businesses have yet to be realised -  Here are a few statistics which suggest there may be some problems for major egg producers in this country who could face stiff competition.

In 1998, the output volume of poultry eggs in China first reached 20 million tons,  over four times that of the U.S., accounting for almost 40% of the global poultry egg output volume. In 2012, the output volume of poultry eggs in China totalled 28.612 million tons.

In terms of international trade, the export value of eggs and egg products from China in 2012 was USD 177.13 million, showing an annual growth of over 2%. The export value of eggs to other countries in the asian region was USD 166.688 million.
Food for thought for the big boys! But they don't care about anyone else so why should we care about them.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Government pyromaniacs planning to disrupt our farming operations by burning native vegetation

Victoria's Department of Environment and Primary Industries has developed a 'planned burning' strategy in  a misguided and idiotic attempt to improve fire safety. As an example, we have recieved a notice that swamp scrub alongside our farm will be burned.
The area alongside our farm which is earmarked for burning
is hatched.

A burn right alongside us will have serious environmental implications as well as threaten our farm. Here's a letter I have sent to our State Minster for the Environment, Ryan Smith:

I am concerned that your Department plans to burn swamp scrub at the edge of the Grantvillle Nature Conservation Reserve in the next round of burning. It's too late this year, by far. Hasn't been safe for the whole winter. But the question is why would anyone burn swamp scrub? It is wet for most of the year - it provides habitat for bandicoots and skinks and Swamp Harriers nest there every year. It is considered an endangered vegetation community. VicRoads had to pay approx. $1.3m to offset some weed infested swamp scrub and sedgeland for the duplication of the Bass Highway near the Corinella turnoff. The area of the planned burn is also the headwaters of one of the few remaining permanent creeks running into the Bass River and feeds the one connected perched swamp. Contrary to the advice in DEPI's letter once this is burned it won't come back. The transevaporative effects will kill off the scrub, ferns, fungi, bladderworts etc. There is so little swamp scrub left that it makes no sense to burn it – far from any claims of making the bush safer from wildfire, it will make the area more fire-prone by changing the vegetation type.
If this 'planed burn' alongside our farm, gets away it will be responsible for the destruction of 100% of the remaining swamp scrub in this region and probably most of the remnant riparian vegetation on the Bass River.

On top of the environmental threat, there are serious health issues involved here, My wife Anne, is asthmatic and will not be able to remain on the farm while the burn takes place. Smoke from the Morwell coal pit fire drifted right down here, caused breathing difficulties for me which resulted in atrial fibrilation, heart failure and culminated in a stroke. Thankfully I have recovered well, but I can't go through that again.

If this burn goes ahead, we will have to leave the property which means that DEPI will need to provide accommodation for us as well as fund staff required to run the farm for the duration of the burn (we operate a free range egg farm).If the burn and resultant poor air quality coveers  an extended period of time we may be forced to cease operations permanently.
Here's one patch of swamp scrub under threat
And more which will disappear under the 'planned burn' protocol 

Friday, November 14, 2014

ACCC wrong to claim "no need' for a definitive free range standard

The consumer watchdog has declared there is ‘‘no need’’ for a free range egg standard in Australia,

But egg producers and consumer groups are helping to develop a standard with consumer Affairs Ministers in every

Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said producers should instead use commonsense and rely on court rulings to avoid misleading labelling.

‘‘Some have expressed concern there is no government standard that producers need to meet to be a free-range producer. We see no
need for any standard,’’ he said at an agricultural forum in Melbourne this week.
While I understand his position, I believe he is wrong.  There is far more to the definition of free range egg production than animal welfare issues.  On our farm we have a three pillars approach, with food safety, land sustainability and asnimasl welfasre taking equal positions. There is considerabl;e pressure from the corporate sector of the industry - as well as the Federal, Queensland and Victorian agriculture ministers not to define stocking densitiers. There is a push thatif that an outdoor density is defined, it should be the major supermarkets version of 10,000 hens per hectare instead of the 1500 per hectare allowed in the current Model Code. 
Unless a maximum outdoor density of 1500 per hectare is adopted by Ministers, then Rod Sims is right - don't bother with a national standard because the big players will simply maintain their intensive production systems.