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Bovine TB on young farmers' minds

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The nation's fight against bovine tuberculosis (TB) is in capable hands, delegates learned at the TBfree New Zealand Young Farmers annual conference in Dunedin.

Animal Health Board (AHB) director and Southland farmer, Jeff Grant, told the audience that they could one day be running the TBfree New Zealand programme, and have the chance to participate in the scheme now.

"The questions from the floor showed these young farmers have sound knowledge of the devastation that bovine TB can cause to farmers' livelihoods," said Mr Grant.

"We are excited to be working with a group of young, successful, business-minded people, through our partnership with New Zealand Young Farmers. "

The conference provided a valuable opportunity to not only give young farmers an update on the success of the TB control programme, but also promote the benefits of getting involved in their local TBfree committee. The AHB supports a national network of 15 regional TBfree committees, made up of farmer volunteers and other stakeholders.

The Canterbury, Tasman, West Coast, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay committees are all currently looking for young farmer representatives to communicate, advocate and support the delivery of the national TB strategy in each region.

"The Young Farmers club delegates are the agribusiness leaders of the future and the AHB is enthusiastic to see them play a key role in the complete eradication of bovine TB from New Zealand. We hope these young men and women complete the job that we have started."

In his address, Mr Grant outlined the national TB control strategy which, over the next 15 years, aims to eradicate the disease from wild animals, mainly possums, across one quarter of the country's TB risk areas. Mr Grant spoke to club delegates from as far afield as the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.

Controlling TB helps protect the reputation of New Zealand's dairy, beef and deer exports, worth around $14 billion a year to the national economy.

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