Agriculture | November 28, 2017

Labor’s regulations force farmers to get big or get out

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP believes small scale farmers will be forced out of business if the Andrews Government proceeds with its plans to drastically increase regulation.

Ms Kealy has been approached by a number of small scale producers concerned that proposed changes to Victoria’s planning controls would make their businesses unviable.

Under the changes, small scale pig and poultry farms will be subject to greater scrutiny and compliance costs than cattle feedlots.

Labor’s planning changes will:

-       Subject pastured pig producers with more than eight sows to the same regulations as an intensive producer with 800 sows in a shed

-       Treat pastured producers with 500 chickens the same as an intensive producer with half a million birds in a shed

-       Make small-scale farming on less than 200 metres wide impossible by enforcing a 100-metre buffer zone from neighbouring dwellings on pastured pig farms with up to eight sows and poultry farms with up to 450 birds

-       Allow an existing poultry farm to open a new range for up to 150,000 birds without any of the restrictions placed on a small scale farmer with 500 birds.

“Small scale agriculture will be destroyed if these changes go ahead”, Ms Kealy said.

“We have fantastic small producers in Lowan who sell directly to the public, local cafes, restaurants and supermarkets.

“These businesses pride themselves on the sustainable management of their land, including moving animals frequently, mobile housing and feed infrastructure and year round maintenance of pastures.

“Instead of making things easier or clearer for farmers, these changes will make meat production prohibitive not just for current farmers but also for anyone who aspires to small scale farming.

“The changes ignore what sets small pastured pig and poultry farms apart from bigger farming operations.

“Labor’s approach is heavy-handed and demonstrates the ignorance of a government that only has eyes for the city,” she said.

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