A new accreditation scheme to guarantee milking equipment safety is being launched by the Milking Equipment Association.
The MEA Technician Accreditation Scheme qualification – known as LTAMEA – provides a nationwide means of benchmarking, monitoring and assessing the competence of milking equipment technicians.
Roger Lane-Nott, director general and CEO of the MEA, says this is a qualification all dairy farmers must insist upon from their machinery dealer.
“The livelihood of dairy farmers depends on the quality and safety of their produce, and as milking equipment becomes more complex, it is essential the person working on it is fully competent – not only to guarantee efficiency and productivity, but also to protect animal health and prevent disease,” says Mr Lane-Nott.
“Previously there was no national standard enabling dairy farmers to assess the competence of their technicians, but now dairy farmers can insist their milking equipment dealer sends only LTAMEA-accredited technicians to undertake installation and servicing. This is the only way to make sure parlours are getting an appropriately-qualified person for the job, preventing potentially costly breakdowns and health and safety issues. It is also something we envisage will soon become part of the increasingly stringent sourcing expectations of dairy processors and retailers further up the chain,” says Mr Lane-Nott.
The multi-tiered accreditation scheme, developed by the Milking Equipment Association in conjunction with Reaseheath College and administered by IAgrE, creates a competence standard which Assured Farm Standard (AFS) can now implement, filling the current need for competency requirement and an audit trail.
Backed by all the major milking equipment manufacturers, the scheme will also be key in encouraging qualified technicians to remain in the industry, as well as helping to recruit talented young people by providing a clear and defined long-term career path.
The scheme will see the first qualified technician graduate in autumn 2012, with many more already being trained.