by Julie Geange, Federated Farmers Team Leader Industry Policy
The issue of stock agents not disclosing information to buyers, or a seller, has been raised many times over many decades. More transparency is being demanded for the industry and rightly so when you look at all the things that can go wrong.
Federated Farmers has worked closely with OSPRI for the past 18 months in an effort to come up with a NAIT standard that will help with disclosure of information in stock transactions where there is a third party involved.
Too many farmers have a tale to tell about a bad experience with selling or buying stock, feeling that their decision may have been different had they known relevant information which the stock agent hadn’t declared. Don’t get me wrong, with all of the stock transactions that occur every year, mistakes can be made, it’s a numbers game. However, it’s also about perception and often this doesn’t line up with expectation or reality.
The NAIT standard ‘Registration of Entities Trading in NAIT Animals’, has been consulted on both with Stock Agents and the public alike. The standard requires a stock agent and/or company to be registered, meet certain behaviours and be required to disclose of certain information. This will be a win for everyone involved in a transaction and can offer a level of transparency not currently required. The standard will also require stock agents to be familiar with the NAIT system so they are able to understand what is required to complete a transaction for themselves and their client.
There are farmers who would like to see full regulation of stock agents, we understand this. However, we think the approach of having a registration process that is affordable, will not pass cost on to the farmer, requires information to be disclosed and has a formal complaints process with an independent panel is a bloody good place to start.