When are you considered a to be running a poultry farm?
Under NSW Environmental & Planning Legislation all piggeries and poultry farms are classified as intensive agriculture, and all intensive agricultural activities require Development Approval from your local council and may also require State Government approval depending on your location. As much of our region is classified as water catchment, being classified as a poultry farmer, will most likely require both Local Government and State Government approval. These types of approvals can be both time consuming and expensive. It is therefore important to make sure your small farming operation remains outside of this regulatory framework. So how do you know if your chook flock makes you a poultry farmer? Finding an answer to this question can be somewhat vexing.
Like other intensive agricultural activities it all comes down to livestock numbers, and while this may seem somewhat arbitrary it is the simplest way for all involved in making a determination.
While State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) No 30—Intensive Agriculture provides clarity on pigs and cattle feed lots it fails to provide any clarity in relation to poultry. Why this is the case is unclear. Clarity on what constitutes a poultry farm is to be found the NSW Food Authority legislation and regulations. (Food Act 2003 NSW, Food Regulation 2015)
Poultry meat producers (farms)
Poultry meat producers, or poultry farms, are operations where more than 100 birds are grown at any one time for human consumption. Poultry means chicken, turkey, duck, squab (pigeon), goose, pheasant, quail, guinea fowl, mutton bird and other avian species.
Egg producers are businesses or farms that produce more than 20 dozen eggs for sale in any week.
The accepted view within this industry and according to the DPI (Department of Primary Industries) is that a commercial operation requires a minimum of 1,000 meat birds or 100 doz eggs per week. There is quite a large disparity between being considered a poultry farmer and having a commercial operation. Given that having more than 100 birds at one time puts you into the regulatory framework and the associated expense it seems somewhat inconsistent that this number is based at 10% of the minimum of what makes a commercial operation.
There appears to be two problems in relation to the definitions used for determining if you are a poultry farmer. The first is the legislation location. There is no logic to having Environmental & Planning Legislation defining intensive agriculture that does not include poultry farming. The second problem in one of the number disparity.
These matters need to be addressed. You can take action by discussing this issue with your local state member. Our representatives need to understand that the problems with definitions and legislation are being used at local level to seriously compromise small farming enterprises and advantage very big agri-businesses who are the only people who can afford to go through the multiple Development application processes and pay the massive Development Application costs involved.
Bronwyn Richards has cared for animals and has been growing vegetables successfully all her adult life. She is principle gardener for Wynlen House Farm