Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 3, Edition 8

Agriculture steps up its game in crisis preparedness

November 26, 2015

Don't wait until W5 is on your doorstep with the cameras rolling

Trial by fire? Hard lessons learned? Burned but wiser? Check, check and check. All of this applies to many sectors in the world of agriculture, from Western Canada to internationally, as a number of industries and organizations have endured a ton thrown at them from activist-fueled hidden video exposes to other forms of crisis.

But one thing clear is that this old adage still applies: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." That's the view a lot of agriculture has today. A clear reflection of this was the positive and proactive mindset, and discussion of strategies and opportunities, that fueled a productive Crisis Communications Forum, hosted recently in Calgary by Alberta Farm Animal Care.

The Forum brought together a lineup of media trainers, crisis trainers and speakers from both agriculture and other industries, to provide perspective for the primarily agricultural audience on how to be prepared for crisis and how to manage when it hits. Here are a few snapshots of the discussion that provide a flavor of the knowledge delivered:

Taking charge in the wake of crisis

"For us it has been almost two years since the crisis we dealt with. I think we had in the neighborhood of probably four weeks between the time that W5 contacted us and the story actually airing. And we did nothing else. The staff in our office carried the day, and our management team did nothing but spend time on working through scenarios and messaging and dialoguing with our national agency."

Click here to read the complete feature article.

Crisis preparedness 101: Rapid fire tips

November 26, 2015

Top 10 round-up

Here are a few more key points emphasized during the forum:

  1. If you wait for a crisis to make change, you're too late. You have to get out in front of it.
  2. Expect crisis. You could be a producer that is doing 100 percent of things right 100 percent of the time and if they want to make you look bad, they will.
  3. Do whatever you can to bulletproof your brand.
  4. It's not enough to be honest. Stay true to your values.
  5. Lessons from the forestry sector have relevance for agriculture.

Click here to read the full story.

Taking the Longview

November 26, 2015

What happens when McDonald's, Cargill and a broad swath of beef producers get together on a picture perfect afternoon in Southern Alberta?

It's about asking questions. It's about providing answers. It's about taking a big step forward to showcase Canada's beef industry progress in the eyes of consumers, who every year are taking a greater interest and higher expectations on where their food comes from.

This in a nutshell is the mindset that is driving the McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef (VSB) pilot project. A large number of beef producers filled the east Longview hall recently on a Chinook fueled picturesque afternoon in Southern Alberta as McDonald's and Cargill hosted an interactive information sharing event on the pilot and how producers can participate.

Mechanism is the key for VSB

"We need to tell our story. It's as simple as that," says Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, one of the key spokespeople on hand, a fourth-generation rancher and chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). "McDonald's and others can tell it. But consumers want to see us too. That's a big part of what today is about. That's a big part of what this pilot is about."

Click here to read the full story.

New Code nears the finish line

November 26, 2015

Four things to know

Work on new Codes of Practice for Canada continues at a steady pace through the process facilitated by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The latest progress in the stretch drive is a new Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys.

Here's a look at four key aspects:

1. Industry championed progress. All the major national producer organizations are on board with this effort, which was instigated in fall 2011.

2. Priority welfare issues. Key issues addressed in this process include:

  • Air and litter quality (broilers, broiler breeders, turkeys)
  • Lighting regimens (broilers, turkeys)
  • Stocking density (broilers, broiler breeders, turkeys)
  • Lameness (broilers, broiler breeders, turkeys)
  • Methods of euthanasia (all, including unhatched eggs)
  • Aggression (broiler breeders - males)
  • Feather-pecking and cannibalism (broiler breeders, turkeys)

Click here to read the full story.


November 26, 2015

Quick takes on key activity and what's coming, from NewStream editors

Dr. Temple Grandin highlights upcoming Banff Pork Seminar

One of the clear highlights of the upcoming 2016 Banff Pork Seminar is sure to be a featured talk by Dr. Temple Grandin on Animal Welfare & Public Perceptions.

She is known around the world and speaks regularly to sold-out audiences. Her work and her life have been featured in a multiple award winning movie. She has been on the cover of TIME Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.

She has dedicated her life to farm animal welfare and her work has revolutionized how industry and society view farm animal care and handling. In the process she has become arguably the most powerful spokesperson on the topic in the world.

"We are delighted to have Dr. Grandin speak on animal welfare and public perceptions," says Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, program co-chair for the 2016 Banff Pork Seminar. "Farm animal care has moved well beyond issues such as gestation stalls, into a major topic with broad implications in society. "Dr. Grandin brings a clarity of thought and purpose that audiences will find both refreshing and challenging," adds Zijlstra. "She will be a key presentation in our 2016 program and one you won't want to miss."

Learn more about the full 2016 Banff Pork Seminar agenda and how to register at www.banffpork.ca.

The Inside BPS Special Report is available here.




McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef Pilot final report available

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Agriculture steps up its game in crisis preparedness

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Taking the Longview

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