Farm and herd owner information enhances FarmsOnLine

Some farm and herd owner information held by the Animal Health Board (AHB) will shortly be added to the Ministry of Agriculture’s (MAF) national rural property register, following consultation with cattle and deer farmers.

FarmsOnLine is being established to ensure up-to-date information on New Zealand farms is available should there be a serious biosecurity outbreak or natural disaster.

AHB Chief Executive, William McCook, says approximately 80,000 herd owners will shortly receive a letter inviting them to share some elements of their farm information with FarmsOnLine.

“The intention is to share our up-to-date and accurate farmer information with the new MAF initiative. The details we aim to pass on are AHB farm identification number, herd identification number, species – whether cattle or deer, map co-ordinates of the farm, as well as the name and contact details of those in charge of livestock,” said Mr McCook.

While farmers can opt out of having their AHB details included on FarmsOnLine, he believed farmers would appreciate the register will allow faster response times and recovery in the event of a major biosecurity incident or natural disaster.

Mr McCook said a biosecurity outbreak could financially devastate farmers, undermine New Zealand’s economy and significantly affect our reputation in international trading markets.

“Farmers can be assured strict rules govern the use of their information and no disease-related information will be shared - that will remain with the AHB,” said Mr McCook. Unless specific legislation was introduced, personal information on FarmsOnLine could only be used for biosecurity and emergency management purposes.

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) Post Border Director, Peter Thomson, said protecting the use of personal information was fundamental to FarmsOnLine’s success.

“We have gone to considerable lengths to ensure clear rules exist around the use of personal information. Herd owners can be confident information the AHB shares with FarmsOnLine will be safe.” 

The AHB and MAFBNZ have worked closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to develop the best approach to protecting personal and commercially-sensitive information.

No action is required from herd owners who are comfortable with their information being included on FarmsOnLine.

Further information and FAQs on FarmsOnLine are available at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/biosec/camp-acts/farmsonline or from MAFBNZ FarmsOnLine communications advisor Helen Corrigan on 029 894 0687 Helen.corrigan@maf.govt.nz

Further information on FarmsOnLine and the Animal Health Board is available at www.tbfree.org.nz or from AHB communications advisor Mike Hansen on 0274 600 754 hansenm@ahb.org.nz

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