Page 19 - Australian Pork Newspaper
P. 19

VFF backs decision to ease
meat processor restrictions
VICTORIAN Farmers and on national issues Christmas and not have
Federation welcomed the recent decision by the Victorian Government to loosen restrictions on the state’s meat processors.
through Australian Pork Limited, the pig indus- tries national representa- tive body.
to rely on imports,” Mr Kingmasaid.
Victoria is a major pork producing state and is es- timated to have the fourth largest number of sows in Australia.
VFF livestock group president Leonard Val- lance said the eased re- strictions offer much needed respite for farmers after weeks of consulta- tion between key farm industry groups and state government.
“Farmers and industry have been implementing COVID-safe practises for months now and it’s up to all of us to ensure we help move towards a COVID- normal environment as soon as possible.”
There are currently 250 herds with over 40,000 sows representing 15 per- cent of the total number of sow herds across Aus- tralia.
The decision to boost workforce capacity at Vic- toria’s meat processing fa- cilities comes as a relief for many farmers.
VFF commends the work of the meat pro- cessing industry and Ag- riculture Victoria to en- sure Victoria’s farmers can continue to reliably supply Australians with world class meat.
Pork producers are spread throughout Vic- toria but are largely con- centrated in the northern regions.
“Victoria is in the middle of the peak spring meat processing season,” Mr Vallance said.
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The pork industry has undergone profound structural change over the last 20 years, with Australian producers de- creasing from 19,279 in 1980 to 1,500 in 2006.
“We’ve been calling for the restrictions imposed on meat processing facili- ties to reflect the number of COVID-19 cases pre- sent, especially in re- gional Victoria.
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However, during this period the average herd size has increased from 18.3 to an estimated 200 due to improved animal care and husbandry prac- tices.
“While it’s pleasing to see regional workforce capacity boosted to 90 percent for meat, we ex- pect once metropolitan cases fall to a comparable level to those in the re- gions, we’ll see capacity increased for processors in Melbourne.
The economic value of the Victorian pig industry during 2006 was esti- mated to be $390 million with over 7,000 jobs being generated.
“Farmers just want to continue farming at the end of the day and we’re confident the industry can continue to do so in a COVID-safe way.”
Across Australia, the current value is in excess of $2 billion a year, pro- viding more than 25,000 jobs for Australia.
VFF Pigs Group presi- dent Tim Kingma said the announcement is timely as the Christmas peak season for the pork in- dustry approaches, and the onus is on the industry to ensure it continues to adhere to COVID-safe practises.
VFF Pig Group rep- resents Victorian pig farmers’ commercial and social interests to raise the standing and profitability of pig farming.
The Pig Group provides a means for Victorian pig farmers’ interests and views to be represented on state issues directly through VFF resources
“We want as many Australians as possible to enjoy local meat this
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Australian Pork Newspaper, October 2020 – Page 19
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