9 Jul 2012

Extra staff needed to keep up with NAIT

12:52 pm on 9 July 2012

Extra staff have been hired to help with a flood of registrations for NAIT, the new national livestock identification scheme.

The scheme became compulsory for cattle a week ago and deer will join in March next year.

Some 37,000 farmers have now registered their animals, five-thousand in the past week.

In total, that's more than half the country's estimated cattle and deer herds.

The scheme requires the use of electronic eartags and is designed to improve New Zealand's ability to respond to a food safety scare or a biosecurity threat.

NAIT chief executive Russell Burnard says staff numbers were doubled to 19 over the past week to meet the extra demand.

He's pleased farmers are moving quickly to comply with the new rules.

There is a three-year transition period, but Mr Burnard expects registrations to average about 500 per week from now on.