As a direct result of funding provided by Condamine Alliance and SEQ Catchments, the Queensland Egg Farmers Association Inc (QEFA) has been working since last year to implement individual Environmental Management Systems on farm for over 80% of Egg Industry participants in SE Queensland. A series of workshops were conducted to educate Egg Producers in Environmental Management, with ground work being undertaken from the identified issues of concern.
As part of the funding, Best Practice Guidelines for Environmental Management were developed in conjunction with Local Governments, the EPA and Industry.
The QEFA identified the need to implement Environmental Guidelines for the Egg Industry, as poultry are covered under the Qld EPA rather than other primary industries, which are environmentally administered by the QLD Dept of Primary Industries.
The QEFA identified to ensure the future sustainability of the Industry, then Egg Producers would need to practice environmentally sound procedures and have a fully documented record of these procedures.
Prior to this project, local councils had little direction in which to apply to planning or expansion applications for poultry farms. The Egg Industry was suffering as councils attempted to implement broiler / meat chicken requirements upon layer hen facilities, whether the facilities were for Barn, Cage & Free Range systems of production.
The QEFA recognised the need for a uniform set of guidelines for councils to enable clear decision making to take place. After initial consultation with the EPA and the Catchment groups, the QEFA received funding to develop Environmental Best Practice Guidelines for the Egg Industry. All sectors of the Qld Egg Industry were involved, including representatives of the largest producers, the Free Range Association and representatives of Local Government.
As part of the implementation of Environmental Guidelines for the Qld Egg Industry, it was decided that each individual Egg producer needed to develop an on farm EMS.
A series of workshops were held across Queensland, with strong attendance from Industry participants. At the workshops, producers completed exercises in determining environmental risk and evaluating possible solutions, as well as appreciating the need to establish Environmental Management Systems as part of their overall QA program.
Following on the initial information provided at the workshops, Egg Producers in conjunction with consultant Mokoan Agriculture have been conducting environmental assessment on their operations and implementing sound composting practices, in addition to documenting procedures in accordance with the Environmental Guidelines developed.
As part of the funding provided by Condamine Alliance and SEQ Catchments, on ground works to immediately correct any risk have also been undertaken on Egg Producers Properties, including drainage catchment, noise and dust buffers and waste management.