Taking charge. Reaching out. Innovating. Communicating.

All of this is a part of driving Alberta’s agriculture industry forward with continued leadership and progress in farm animal care.

Two industry groups who serve as excellent examples were recognized with Awards of Distinction at the recent Livestock Care Conference, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), March 14-15 in Olds, Alta.

The East Olds Dairy Farmer group won AFAC’s Award of Distinction for Communication and Lakeland College earned the Award of Distinction for Industry Leadership. Both Awards of Distinction are presented to individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions to progress in farm animal care in Alberta and beyond.

 East Olds Dairy Farmer Group

The East Olds Dairy Farmer Group is comprised of multiple dairy producers looking to constantly better themselves and leave a mark on their industry. Six years ago, they did just that by introducing the Breakfast on the Dairy Farm initiative. Just as its name implies, this initiative invites out urbanites to real-life dairy operations in the Olds area to experience true life at a farm level. Everything from production and welfare standards to the look, feel and smell of dairy barns.

East Olds Dairy Farmer Group Award Winners.

From 348 people and one location in 2012 to nearly 1,000 visitors and a second farm by 2016, the event has positively contributed to the food dialogue between producers and consumers. The award is a testament to the group’s ongoing commitment to make their operations transparent and give a greater appreciation for their industry at large.

Lakeland College Award Winners.

Lakeland College

The Industry Leadership award went to Lakeland College for its high standards and ongoing commitment to animal welfare. The college puts its Animal Science Technology Program students through an entire semester of animal handling, welfare and ethics during their first year of studies.

The overarching goal is to have students become more involved and better the agriculture industry at large. The hands-on lab component teaches students low-stress handling techniques in many types of situations, such as handling facilities for sheep, beef and pasture settings. Students are taught to think outside the box, developing new, unique and suitable solutions for best management practices for their own operations or future careers.

Overall, both groups have made a commitment to their industry in unique ways and have earned well-deserved recognition by their peer groups.