NEW National Ovine Johne's Disease Control and Evaluation Program (NOJDP) management committee chairman John Kerin has announced that producers voluntarily testing their flocks for OJD would be eligible for subsidies of up to $600, made available under the NOJDP Surveillance Program. Mr Kerin said pro-active voluntary testing by producers was a valuable tool that assisted in providing important surveillance data. Following strong industry support, the program management committee approved a range of subsidies as part of the surveillance program, in addition to those subsidies already available to residual zone producers. These include: pa $600 subsidy for producers in control zones or producers in residual zones ineligible for the current 100 per cent subsidy, who enter the Sheep Market Assurance Program (SheepMAP) or progress from MN1 or MN2 status; pup to $600 for producers in residual zones who undertake a check test (approved testing of 100 sheep); and p$200 for producers in control zones who undertake a check test. "Flock testing, either by check testing or the SheepMAP, is a critical part of the program," Mr Kerin said. "While these subsidies recognise the value of voluntary testing to the surveillance program, they should also increase the availability of tested flocks from which buyers can source restocker sheep. "Preventing the spread of OJD is paramount, and the more producers test their flocks, the greater the opportunity for buyers to purchase sheep with some assurance." Recently appointed as the independent chairman of the management committee, Mr Kerin said one of his objectives would be to speed up the decision making process. Previously a farmer and a businessman, Mr Kerin served as the Federal Primary Industries Minister for a record eight years. He currently serves on the boards of several organisations, including the Co-operative Research Centres for Weed Management Systems and Tropical Savannas, NSW State Forests and the NSW Water Advisory Council. The NOJDP is managed by Animal Health Australia on behalf of affected livestock industries, state and ACT governments and the Commonwealth Government.