Following the latest meeting of the Action Group on Johne’s, chair Lyndon Edwards has urged the industry to gear up for the October 2018 deadline.
He said: “The industry is gearing up to meet the October 2018 deadline for farmers to obtain a declaration signed by a vet that has been accredited by the BCVA as a Johne’s advisor that an assessment of Johne's risk and status has been undertaken and there is a written plan in place which complies with the National Johne's Management Plan.
“The October 2018 target has galvanised action and infused a new momentum into the initiative. It’s clear from the reports we’ve had from members at our meetings that all the major milk purchasers in the UK are committed to achieving the deadline and will be undertaking a structured programme of activity and communications with their supplying farmers in order to do so.
“Dairy farmers should start thinking deeply about how they will secure the veterinary declaration. It’s not a tick box exercise, it requires close collaboration between farmers and their vets."
Mr Edwards continued: “We’ll be producing guidance on how farmers should go about this process. We would advise this work be initiated soon, preferably before turnout, whilst they’ve got more time available.
“There’s now plenty of vets that have passed the BCVA Johne’s training programme, so far of the 833 vets that have enrolled 695 have passed.
“Johne’s is a disease the industry has to get to grips with. All the reasons for tackling the disease remain in place and in some respects are becoming more pressing. However, it also remains an opportunity: to achieve healthier, more productive animals; and to strengthen farm management systems that will enable farmers to tackle other disease issues."
Mr Edwards concluded: “I’m confident that we now have all the elements in place to deliver a successful programme which will be of lasting benefit to the industry and I urge everybody in the industry to get on board soon."