Running (or visiting) a school farm or school agricultural program in Tasmania means that you have an important role to play in helping to protect your property, our primary industries and the state from the impact of pests, weeds and disease.
You are also presented with the unique opportunity to introduce students to the concept of biosecurity, and instil good biosecurity practise in students during their early schooling.
Listed below are some biosecurity actions you can take to meet your General Biosecurity Duty (GBD) and to help keep your property - and Tasmania - biosecurity safe.
Develop a Biosecurity Plan
Developing and implementing an appropriate biosecurity plan for your property or school farm is a key step that you can take. Biosecurity plans should contain actions aimed at preventing the introduction or spread of pests, weeds and disease on your property. They are also a good way to educate students, staff, and visitors on the importance of biosecurity. There are many on-line resources to assist with this – the Farm Biosecurity website is a great starting point.
Important Biosecurity Actions
Biosecurity vigilance (also known as Notification of a Biosecurity Event)
If you SEE something on your property or school farm that is unusual or of biosecurity concern, such as potential exotic plant/animal pests, weeds or animal diseases, or invasive animal species;
SECURE the site by restricting access (and limiting movement in the case of suspected animal diseases) AND take a photo, noting the location; and then
REPORT it to Biosecurity Tasmania as soon as possible,
Please note: Taking samples in the field may increase the risk of spreading the biosecurity risk so Biosecurity Tasmania will provide further instruction regarding possible sample collection and submission.
School Farm Visitors
Ensure that all visitors (including students, staff, or parents) are made aware of any biosecurity requirements on your property, including completion of sign-in logs and the need for good vehicle, equipment, clothing and personal hygiene when travelling between sites.
Consider setting up an entry/exit hygiene station at the entrance of your property or school farm, and encourage its use. More information on enty/exit protocols can be found of the Farm Biosecurity website.
If you are a visitor to a farm or property remember to “leave it how you found it”. Be sure to shut gates behind you if they were shut, or leave gates open if they were open.
Do not bring food onto the property (in particular the livestock holding areas).
Livestock and other animals
Regularly check gates, fences and enclosures and repair any damage to prevent the escape or entry of livestock or other animals.
Register your property with a Property Identification Code (PIC). Owners of a property with one or more head of cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, or that commercially farm poultry for meat or eggs, must apply for a PIC. Owners of properties with animals such as horses and alpacas, or that are engaging in any form of primary industries enterprise are strongly encouraged to register for a PIC. Your PIC should be updated at least bi-annually, or as your specific situation changes.
Engage the services of a veterinarian and maintain a working relationship to help manage the health and welfare requirements of your livestock or other animals as required.
Monitor your animals regularly for signs of sickness. If your animals do get sick, get them checked by a vet to make sure they don’t have a notifiable disease.
Ensure that if you sell or move livestock from one property to another, or transport animals for slaughter, all animals must be identified to NLIS requirements and travel with the correct documentation.
Ensure that when you move livestock from one property to another, or transport animals for slaughter, all animals are fit to load for the intended journey and meet all other health requirements.
Send your livestock to an accredited abattoir for slaughter or engage a mobile butchery service to attend your premise to produce meat for your own consumption.
Apply animal welfare requirements, as described in relevant legislation, codes of practice, guidelines and quality assurance programs.
Never feed prohibited pig feed to pigs, Restricted Animal Material (RAM) to ruminant animals (for example, cattle, sheep and goats), or offal to dogs, and ensure that visitors are not permitted to bring food onto the property for the purpose of feeding animals.
Engage veterinarian help for any sick or injured animals as soon as practicable. If death is confirmed, ensure that the carcass of any animal on or in the premises is buried, burned or otherwise suitably disposed of within a reasonable time after the carcass has been discovered. Ensure that dogs are not able to access offal from carcasses due to hydatids risk.
Pests, weeds and diseases
Importing items into Tasmania
If you are purchasing goods from outside Tasmania for your property or school farm (especially stockfeed, seeds, plants and plant products, or some animal products such as semen) you need to you need to check whether they are permitted to be imported into Tasmania. Visit the Biosecurity Tasmania website for more information.
All imported plants and many of their products must be presented to Biosecurity Tasmania for inspection at an Approved Quarantine Place (AQP). It is the responsibility of the importer to determine an appropriate AQP and make a booking for inspection with Biosecurity Tasmania once the AQP has confirmed they will accept the consignment.
If you are importing equipment or machinery, you need to take all reasonable and practicable measures to ensure that they are cleaned and free of all soil, seeds and plant matter prior to arriving in Tasmania, as per Import Requirement 39 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania. Some machinery, such as viticultural equipment, may have to meet additional import requirements.
If you are importing seeds in consignments under 1kg as per Import Requirement 36 in the Plant Biosecurity Manual Tasmania, ensure that they are sourced from an approved supplier, or consider applying to become a registered importer if you plan on importing seeds on a regular basis.
Contact and Reporting
Contact Biosecurity Tasmania for general information or to report a suspected pest, weed or disease:
Phone: (03) 6165 3777
Alternatively, for reporting pests, weeds or diseases, you can call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline (1800 084 881) or the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline (1800 675 858).
Stay up to date on biosecurity in Tasmania
Subscribing to the Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories
is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity
Follow Biosecurity Tasmania on Facebook.
Please note that this information contains minimum recommendations only. The GBD requires a person dealing with biosecurity matter or a carrier to take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk associated with the dealing. Such measures may not be specified in any regulations, guidelines or other official publications.