Improving biosecurity practices and preparing for the potential incursion of an emergency animal disease is the focus of a new biosecurity officer role, focused on the state's pork industry.
University of Adelaide animal science graduate Chelsea Dossett has been appointed to the position, which has been jointly funded by the SA government and the SA Pig Industry Fund.
Ms Dossett was the recipient of the Ronald J Lienert Memorial Scholarship, graduating with honours in pig production, and has broad experience working on a 500-sow farm.
A key focus of her role will be to develop protocols for best practice biosecurity and disease management that ensures SA is well placed to meet and implement national requirements.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said the appointment of a dedicated pig industry biosecurity officer was the latest in a series of recent initiatives undertaken by the industry aimed at strengthening supply chain biosecurity in SA.
Other initiatives include new truck biosecurity upgrades at the Port Wakefield and Murray Bridge abattoirs and the upgrade and expansion to the SA Artificial Breeding Centre.
"Biosecurity is critical to prevent, respond to and recover from pests and diseases which threaten the economy and environment," he said.
"With the spread of African Swine Fever across the globe, including reaching our neighbours in Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea, I applaud our pork industry in ensuring biosecurity remains a critical priority.
"These measures ensure SA's pork industry is as resilient and self-sufficient as possible to support producers to maintain continued market access and the production of food."
South Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Mary Carr said the appointment of a pig industry biosecurity officer would further develop capabilities that helped to assure the movement of pigs in the event of an emergency animal disease outbreak.
"This applies to all facets of the supply chain, from shipment to slaughter and routine property-to-property movements for multi-site producers," she said.
"This new role will help to provide a network and build partnerships with industry, stakeholders, research organisations and regional communities to guide the development and delivery of important biosecurity programs to improve disease preparedness, resilience and recovery."
SA pig veterinarian Barry Lloyd said the new role would help pig producers customise pig movement as well as destruction, disposal and decontamination contingencies within their farm biosecurity plans.
"The introduction of a biosecurity officer for the industry will not only help with overall preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak but producers will also benefit from a reduced risk of endemic production-limiting diseases into their herds, providing ongoing and long-term benefits to their business," he said.
"The support will be appropriate for commercial herds of all sizes across SA and will work to educate farm teams and support their specialist animal health advisers."
Pork SA chair Andrew Johnson said transformational change to biosecurity habits was required by all involved in the supply chain to ensure continued market access.
"Supporting these new biosecurity initiatives will empower producers and the industry with the biosecurity knowledge and skills to drive practice change to help maintain market access and respond to the evolving requirements of domestic and global markets and consumers," he said.
"This further joint investment from industry and government, reflects the importance of being prepared for an emergency animal disease and the industry's strong commitment to biosecurity."
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