From a featured presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin to panel discussions on hot topics, there were many highlights out of the Livestock Care Conference, March 14-15 in Olds, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).

There was also a lot to celebrate as AFAC marks its 25th anniversary in 2018 as an organization representing producers and others in the farm animal care community.

Here is a collection of just some of the perspectives and information delivered:

Temple sets the tone

“We have come a long way over 25 years,” says Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. “Animal welfare and handling have greatly improved. In many cases we have in fact seen huge improvements. We have done better at telling our story but still not enough people know about it. We need to keep communicating with the public about the good things that have been done.”

Award winners lead the charge

“Good communication is one of the most important things in life,” says Arie Van den Broek, a milk producer involved in the Breakfast on the Dairy Farm initiative. “We as producers like to show where the milk comes from, how we take care of our animals and our neighbours. ‘Open that farm gate and let people come in’—that’s what we always say.”

Strong agenda drives discussion

The meat of the agenda had something for everyone, with featured presentations on “Pig Production: Changing Times and Changing Ways,” “Can Old School Farming be the Future of Food?” “Proactive Approach in the Poultry Industry,” “Cattle Research Panel: Progress in Beef, Dairy and Transportation,” “A Little Something to Ruminate on,” “Engaging the Public: How to Tell YOUR Story,” and more.

Susan Church reflects on AFAC’s evolution

“I am so proud to have been a part of this progressive and action-based organization,” says Susan Church, the first and longtime manager of AFAC. “The future is bright as we look forward to another 25 years and beyond for AFAC.”

Annemarie Pedersen looks to the future 

“As we celebrate 25 years of AFAC, it’s a great time to take stock of where we are today and where we want to go in the future,” says Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC Executive Director. “It’s an exciting time to be in the livestock sector. As a group we have a real opportunity to do something important and special together.”

Working together for continual improvement

Many speakers at #LCC2018 touched on the theme of celebrating the past while embracing the future. The work that the livestock industry in Alberta embraces to promote animal welfare and collaborative approaches plays significant a role in the future of animal agriculture in the province. It’s a role that has never been more important as AFAC looks ahead to the next 25 years.

“AFAC is such an integral part of our livestock industry in Alberta today,” says Dianne Finstad, agriculture and rodeo reporter and longtime friend to agriculture in Alberta, who served as MC for the conference. “When we think about AFAC being formed 25 years ago, there is quite a legacy of progress to reflect upon. A quarter century is something to be proud of. It shows AFAC has staying power as an organization. It has a strong past. It has an important future.”

Sierra steals the show

A great moment at the conference was when Sierra Brand of Rocky North 4-H Multiclub introduced Dr. Grandin, delivering a memorable and inspired speech that both touched and wowed many  in the audience. Awesome job Sierra!!!