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AFAC launches farm animal care leadership initiative

Posted: November 14, 2012

A new effort is underway to support Alberta's livestock industry as a leader in the fast evolving, high profile area of farm animal care.

The Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Information Leadership Initiative is a communications program designed to help producers and their industry manage information and keep up to date on the bottom line in farm animal care today.

This includes information on the latest thinking, ideas, developments, best practices, trends and issues, to support the role of producers as front-line managers and decision makers.

AFAC is the farm animal care organization that represents all major livestock producer organizations in the province. AFAC is working with Calgary-based communications company Meristem to design and deliver the project components. The initiative is sponsored by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).

"This new initiative is about helping livestock producers stay at the leading edge of farm animal care," says Heini Hehli, a Rimbey area dairy producer and Chair of AFAC. "It is designed to give producers the information they need to make good decisions on their farms and in their industry. As livestock producers, we share the values of making sure farm animals are well cared for throughout their lifetimes and that industry follows best practices based on the latest knowledge. The AFAC Information Leadership Initiative is an example of how we are building on that commitment for the future."

Farm animal care is an area where the pace of developments on market, research, policy, production and trade fronts is rapidly increasing both domestically and internationally, says Hehli. Specific practices and requirements are also steadily rising in sophistication. "Producers need a consistent flow of quality information to understand what the developments mean for them, make good decisions and manage their role."

The initiative includes a number of components. Among the highlights:

  • NewStream Farm Animal Care – A cutting edge digital news source capturing latest developments, progress and ideas in farm animal care. Includes short items as well as links to longer feature articles that showcase innovative thinking, case studies, best practices and success opportunities.
  • VeriCare Special Reports – Specially designed to provide technically competent, expert-driven coverage of important issues in farm animal care.
  • CareScape Initiative – Using social media to support awareness of farm animal care progress and issues.
  • Livestock Care Conference knowledge transfer – A customized effort to deliver information from this leading conference on farm animal care, which is hosted annually by AFAC and features top speakers from both within Canada and internationally.
  • An initial phase was delivered out of the 2012 Livestock Care Conference, hosted by AFAC, and a number of the additional components are rolling out shortly.

    "The focus of the initiative is to get the best information into the hands of producers and those who work with producers," says Brad Brinkworth, Director, Meristem. "The aim is to use a range of delivery options to provide a quality, credible resource for industry."

    The status of farm animal care leadership as a top priority for Alberta's livestock industry is why ALMA is supporting the initiative. "This is exactly the type of project that fits ALMA's role as a catalyst in stimulating innovation and encouraging the adoption of best practices," says Gordon Cove, CEO, ALMA. "Leadership in farm animal care is absolutely critical to the continued development of a profitable and internationally competitive Alberta livestock and meat industry of the future."

    Visit www.meristem.com for sign-up information to receive regular e-newsletter editions of NewStream Farm Animal Care.