14 Oct 2010

Farming leader against new MAF database

3:16 pm on 14 October 2010

A dairy farming leader is opposing a farm information database MAF Biosecurity is developing.

The $3 million FarmsOnLine system, due to be launched in March next year, will bring together rural property, land use and ownership information scattered through numerous government and industry databases.

The aim is to make it more accessible and speed up the response time for agencies dealing with pest and disease outbreaks, and other emergencies.

FarmsOnLine will include cattle and deer herd data collected by the Animal Health Board for bovine tuberculosis control and will also have links to the proposed national livestock identification and tracing system.

MAF says having instant access to accurate farm property, stock and crop information is essential and it will reduce duplication in data-handling.

But Federated Farmers dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie, who is also its animal identification spokesperson, believes the database will actually increase duplication and costs.

He says there are already many groups and organisations that have good databases, including the Animal Health Board as well as regional and district councils.

It will not be compulsory for farmers and other property owners to have their details included on FarmsOnLine, and Mr McKenzie says he will be one of those opting out.