Livestock

Ease of restrictions critical for spring lamb processing

By Jamie Salter

The Victorian Farmers Federation is calling on the Victorian Government to ease meat processor workforce restrictions as part of the coronavirus recovery road map.

VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance said processing facilities should operate around at least at 80 per cent capacity to manage the influx of spring lambs.

“There is an urgent need for a sensible, risk-based approach to evaluating processing facilities,” Mr Vallance said.

“Some processing facilities already have the infrastructure and the internal procedure capabilities to implement COVID-19-safe practices.”

Mr Vallance said Victoria produced almost half of Australia’s sheep and lamb meat and there were concerns about the viability of processors and producers.

“We have producers who receive their yearly pay cheque from large consignments of lamb in the spring time who are anxiously waiting to see a commitment to work with industry,” he said.

“Many producers were looking forward to one of the best seasons in years, but now face an uncertain immediate future as the spring peak approaches.”

He said a strategy based on individual processing facilities would help provide producers with a level of certainty during the peak season.

“Farmers have battled bushfire, drought and now COVID-19,” Mr Vallance said.

“Farmers just want to continue farming at the end of the day and are confident they can do so in a COVID-19-safe way.”