Do you really know what you’re declaring?
It’s becoming a common sight these days to see a paddock turned into a 3-ring circus. Drilling rigs, over-decorated 4WD’s and fluro shirts from the resource company that is hunting for coal or gas. Now you’ve got one in your sale paddock.
Watching the action is more than just a few steers curious what all the fuss is about. The same steers that you’ve got booked in for the meatworks next week. To get them there, you’ll be completing a National Vendor Declaration (NVD).
This declaration asks questions about chemical residue, withholding periods and where your cattle have been grazing for the last 60 days. You know what chemicals you have on your property and you know where you’ve used them. But, what about the resource company? What are the implications if the company forgets to tell you about that patch of parthenium they sprayed last week? You’ve got no idea what the chemical is or what it does, or if there are any withholding periods.
Or what about that puddle of fraccing water that your cattle just walked through because of a burst pipe? As an NVD is a legal document, it must be filled in correctly to safeguard against being issued with serious penalties for supplying incorrect information.
Resources companies should need to get your consent to chemical use before they start.
To complete your NVD, you need to know what chemicals the resource company is using and exactly where they will be used. You should be provided with product labels and material safety data sheets. Therefore, it’s really important to have a clause covering chemical usage in your access agreement with the resource company.
You also need to ensure that you have good, open communication lines with them. A good access agreement will also cover what happens if there is a problem and provide details of how to fix it.
Chemical usage clauses are especially important for organic and bio-dynamic farmers to make sure your certification isn’t compromised.
Negotiating Access Agreements can be a time consuming exercise, but this is your life, your home and your livelihood – so it is well worth investing some time to make sure there are no major disruptions to your business and your income.