SSAA Farmer Assist program connects farmers with qualified pest shooters

SSAA Farmer Assist program connects farmers with qualified pest shooters

JUSTIN LAW, The Weekly Times
September 30, 2016 12:00am

A PROGRAM designed to connect farmers with qualified and insured volunteer shooters will be launched at the field days.

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) will use the event to register farmers, land managers and members who want to participate in the SSAA Farmer Assist program.

“Feral and pest animals cost our primary industries hundreds of millions of dollars every year,” SSAA Victoria Conservation and Pest Management manager Rhys Coote said.

“These animals also cause considerable damage to the environment and kill native species.

“With farmers working in excess of 12 hours a day during busy periods they have limited resources for managing pests on their own properties.

“Having an extra pair of hands or a group that you can trust coming on to your property and controlling pests can relieve a huge burden.”

The SSAA Farmer Assist program has been developed as an online platform, which allows farmers to post job ads when they require help with pest and feral animal control.

SSAA members who have completed the approved marksmanship test can then apply to fill the positions through the online portal.

The SSAA said farmers log on to the website at any time and read through the applications, strike up online conversations with applicants to get to know them better or approve them to attend their property.

“Our national body designed this program to suit the lifestyles of farmers, who can’t always be on the phone during business hours, or attend businesses in person,” Mr Coote said.

“The program allows farmers to work to their own schedules, with people who understand their struggles and want to help.”

Prior to registering, all volunteer operators undertake a self-guided shooting competency assessment using an approved SSAA Farmer Assist Assessment Target which is signed-off by an accredited range officer.

All members who participate in the program are covered by the Association’s $20 million public liability insurance. It will give farmers peace of mind, knowing that SSAA members invited onto their property as part of this program will be insured.

Farmers can then concentrate on maximising the profitability and sustainability of their enterprises by allowing responsible hunters to assist wildlife management.

For details, visit the SSAA Farmer Assist program website.

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