The Lakeland College experience is one for doers.
Many post-secondary institutions promise a hands-on education, but Lakeland College goes far beyond expectations, providing truly immersive experiences that shape futures and prepare students for the real world.
New agriculture programs debut this fall
This September, Lakeland will become the first post-secondary institution in Canada to offer an agriculture technology degree. Created for people with skills in ag production and management, this degree program will help them to understand and work with cutting-edge technology and its data, ensuring higher productivity and better industry innovation.
Craig Lester – As the mercury in the thermometer soars into the mid-to-high 30s (Celsius) this week it’s important to keep a sharp eye on your livestock for heat stress.
Dr. Melissa Moggy is the Extension Coordinator with Alberta Farm Animal Care.
She says there are a few symptoms you should watch for including the animals breathing faster.
“We call this an increased respiratory rate and so that might just be that their sides are moving faster or you might actually see that their mouth is open and they’re open mouth breathing,” Moggy said.
She says they often see that in birds, as they will open their mouths and their whole body will be moving as they try to expel the hot air and cool down. Moggy adds you may see that the animals don’t want to eat or drink.
Dianne Finstad – Sure, a lot of ranch work really is pandemic friendly, like feeding cows, baling hay, fixing machinery.
But let’s face it. Raising cattle, and in fact all of agriculture, is really a people business. Time and again you will hear it’s the people, plus the animals, that make this a special way of life.
So what happens to the social aspect when the whole world goes into a lockdown? Well, there’s been a whole lot of ‘try’ for new ways of meeting, sharing information, and doing issues work.
One of the first agriculture organizations to face the challenge was Alberta Farm Animal Care, with its annual Livestock Care Conference scheduled for Olds on March 19, 2020 – just a week after the first COVID-19 related lockdown. Speakers were coming from California, Georgia and B.C.
AFAC renews small flock webinar series
May 13, 2021
As urban and rural communities alike trade restaurants for coops and crowds for flocks, AFAC is excited to announce new sessions for its 2021 backyard chicken webinar series featuring hen expert Cassandra Kirkpatrick. Running from spring to fall, workshops cover a wide range of material that includes: coop design, breeds and flock behaviour, home care versus vet care and more. Registrants can expect to learn about bylaws and costs as well as obtain the certification needed to own backyard chickens in some municipalities.
The renewed interest in small flocks inspired programs that provide individuals with the tools and knowledge to care for their hens and provide the highest standards of animal welfare.(more…)
On this episode of Emergency Preparedness in Canada (EPIC) Podcast, Dr. Melissa Moggy joins Grayson Cockett and Dr. Joshua Bezanson to chat about the complexities of managing livestock during disaster, and the risks and resilience associated with rural emergencies.
By Linda Greening, Hartpury University
Sleep reportedly regulates a range of internal processes, plays a part in memory consolidation, and is governed by homeostatic and circadian processes. Thus, sleep is considered a critically important part of both mental and physical wellbeing for all mammals, with ‘sleep debts’ occurring when an individual fails to achieve an ‘optimal’ amount of sleep. The horse is no exception. Described as a polyphasic sleeper, the horse on average engages in several short sessions of sleep interspersed with longer periods of wakefulness resulting in a total of 3-5 hours sleep per 24 hours. Most commonly, equine sleep is observed between midnight and dawn, which is considered an evolutionary adaption by reducing the risk of attack at a time when the horse is most vulnerable. In a recent questionnaire-based study of nearly 600 horse owners, 29% reported never considering the amount of sleep their horse achieved, suggesting consideration of equine sleep may be under-prioritised when evaluating equine welfare within normal husbandry practices.(more…)
By Dr. Roy Lewis, DVM
We, veterinarians, are using more and more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). One of the big areas to focus on is the pain associated with calving. You, together with your veterinarian, should develop a plan for when it comes to calving this spring. There are several choices out there in the injectable, oral and pour-on formulations to consider.(more…)
A new survey is being performed at the University of Guelph to investigate stress, depression, anxiety, burnout, suicide ideation, substance use, resilience, and coping in farmers across Canada. The survey take about 20 minutes to complete and will be open until May 7th. Participants will also have the opportunity to enter their name to win one of 5 draws for $200. The chances of winning one of the draw prizes are approximately 1 in 1000.(more…)
Doug Ferguson – The provincial government plans to allow consumers to buy animals directly from livestock producers for on-farm slaughter.
New provincial rules that allow Albertans to buy live animals directly from local producers for slaughter on farms will help ease a processing bottleneck made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, said a beef producer.
“I think this new regulation creates a great opportunity for farmers,” said Blake Hall of Prairie Gold Pastured Meats near Red Deer. “As consumers become more interested in local food and farmers become more interested in direct marketing their animals, I think that this regulation helps marry those two nicely.”
He spoke at a recent webinar on the new rules hosted by Mountain View County north of Calgary. It was held in partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, along with the Young Agrarians, Grey Wooded Forage Association and Alberta Farm Animal Care.
By Dr. Melissa Moggy
Rocky View School students have a unique opportunity to close the gap between the public and agriculture through attending class at The Farm. Grade nine, 10, and 11 Rocky View School students can apply to the program, and 40 students are selected. Students are taught their curriculum from an agricultural perspective in a portable classroom on The Farm. Relationships with the community and partners anchor the program. AFAC is a member of The Farm’s advisory committee and has had the opportunity to see this program grow.(more…)
By Dr. Karin Orsel, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary
Bovine respiratory disease (BRD), accounts for most of the disease and deaths in Alberta feedlots and feedlots in North America. Although BRD is a multifactorial disease, it is mainly associated with bacterial pathogens. Therefore, BRD is treated using antimicrobials, potentially playing a role in the development of antimicrobial resistance.(more…)
If you have attended one of AFAC’s backyard chicken webinars then you will most likely recognize the name Cassandra Kirkpatrick. While most regard Cassandra as the expert in all backyard chicken-related matters, she wasn’t always as involved as she is today. In fact, Cassandra didn’t even like chickens initially; however, it is safe to say that she loves them now! Currently, Cassandra juggles her time between managing her company Jungle Out There pet services, caring for her chickens and teaching workshops with AFAC.(more…)
The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) has launched an online training program in an effort to increase awareness around nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of equines.(more…)
Barb Glen – New transportation rules require producers to document the last time cattle were given feed, water and rest, and give info to truckers
More record keeping and attention to feed, water and rest requirements are the biggest changes for cattle producers and truckers arising from new federal livestock transportation regulations.
The new rules came into effect in February and began with a two-year grace period during which the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it would focus on education rather than hard enforcement.
AFAC works with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to deliver a webinar series on the updated humane transport regulations.
Multi-stakeholder partnership brings livestock transport regs to producers
Aug 25, 2020
Calgary, ALBERTA — A presentation from this spring’s Livestock Care Conference (LCC) has led to a new webinar series, to be offered by Alberta Farm Animal Care with technical expertise provided by the CFIA.
During our LCC in March, Nancy Simmons, a CFIA Meat Hygiene Inspector with a focus on humane transport, made a presentation on some of the key changes to transport regulations that will impact all livestock transportation in Canada. “The questions afterwards highlighted the great demand producers have for this information,” says Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC Executive Director.
They both saw the opportunity. A lot of information is specific to certain livestock sectors. “There are differences even between dairy and beef cattle for example. So why not provide specific sessions focused on each species separately? These AFAC webinars allow us to work with the industry directly and reach the producers and others involved in livestock transportation,” says Simmons.
“The series will include a CFIA presentation on the updated regulations and an extensive questions and answer period. We want to hear from the people who have to deliver on these changes and have a real discussion,” says Pedersen.
The first two sessions have been scheduled:
- Wednesday, September 9th in partnership with Alberta Pork
- Tuesday, September 22nd in partnership with Alberta Beef Producers
Other sessions are in the planning stages and will be announced as they are confirmed. Although the Alberta associations are collaborating on this series, it will be relevant and open to producers and stakeholders across the country. “Registration for this virtual webinar is free and we are very grateful for our provincial partners and the support of the CFIA for helping make this series a reality. We hope we will see producers from across Canada join as well. These rules and changes are the same for everyone,” says Pedersen.
More information and registration is available at https://www.afac.ab.ca/programs-and-events/events/
By Dr. Melissa Moggy
Recently, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry reviewed and amended the Meat Inspection Regulation. Some amendments were focused on enabling innovation and change by removing red tape, improving clarity, and changing to a more outcome-based regulation. What that means is that the regulation now specifies a desired outcome that must be met, rather than giving instructions on how that outcome is reached.
The Meat Inspection Regulation also includes updated definitions on meat by-products and inedibles, categories of salvage, and directions on collecting, handling, storing, shipping, and labelling different categories of salvage. These changes will help abattoirs to salvage more meat by-products, improve access to specialty ethnic markets, and increase access to animal food. However, these products cannot enter the food chain if they are not inspected but may be used by the owner of the animal.
There is also a new license under the Meat Inspection Regulation. The Uninspected Slaughter Operation Licence is for anyone who owns land where on-farm slaughter occurs. This licence allows producers to sell a live animal to a customer and offer on-farm slaughter and processing services to the customer. Again, the meat is uninspected and is not for sale, but is for the consumption of the customer, who is the owner of the animal.
The final thing to change in the Meat Inspection Regulation is the future allowance of Meat and Dairy Inspection Section inspectors to perform video ante-mortems. This change will be finalized after the government has completed its research on video ante-mortem inspections. It will allow inspectors to perform their ante-mortem inspection, which is needed to sell the meat, from a real-time ante-mortem video of the animal prior to slaughter. This is ideal for animals that are unfit for transport, in emergency situations, or as approved by the Director. The carcass of the animal must be transported to a licensed abattoir within two hours to complete the slaughter process and to complete a post-mortem inspection. The inspected meat can then be sold for public consumption.
Please see the factsheets below for more information:
Canadian Cattlemen recognizes its new Young Leaders as well as the distinguished Award of Distinction winners. These winners were virtually presented with their awards at the March 2020 Livestock Care Conference 2.0.
Click the link below to read the full article at Canadian Cattlemen.
By Wiolene Nordi*, Désirée Gellatly§, Daniela Meléndez*, Sonia Marti‡, Doerte Dopfer††, Kathy Parker†, Joyce Van Donkersgoed╪, and Karen Schwartzkopf-Genswein*
Sheep production is on the rise in Canada, largely due to the growing ethnic market. This means that the number of lamb feedlots is also increasing to meet this demand. As with most intensive production systems, some health and welfare issues are reduced as a result of greater ability and opportunity to manage animal health while other issues may increase since disease can be more easily spread. This is true in the case of lameness, which can be caused by either infectious or non-infectious sources. Regardless of the cause, lameness is a significant animal welfare and economic concern known to be painful for the animals and costly to producers due to production losses and increased treatment and labour costs.(more…)
By Julian Cortes
Beef lameness team: Karin Orsel, Ed Pajor, Anice Thomas and Ben Caddey
Digital dermatitis (DD) has been reported in North American feedlots, but the cause is still not fully clear. DD causes ulcers on cattle feet and often results in lameness. The beef lameness team at the University of Calgary, decided to look at foot and leg conformation as well as pen conditions as factors that make it more likely for a feedlot animal to have DD. A better understanding of the potential role of each variable should provide new ideas to improve prevention and treatment.(more…)
By Dr. Kelsey Gray DVM, Prairie Swine Health Services
During the era of Covid-19, these unprecedented times bring high anxiety as we do not have all the answers. One minute, we’re told not to wear masks, and the next, well…you better get yourself a mask.
The pig industry is certainly not free from the anxiety of this evolving situation. Initial reactions by our pork producers regarding Covid-19 started with the concern “can pigs get Covid-19?” and “What am I going to do if our workers get sick? Who will care for our pigs?” and unfortunately in some areas, the heart wrenching question is now being asked “How do I mass euthanize my pigs?”(more…)
By Daniela M. Meléndez, Sonia Marti, Derek B. Haley and Karen S. Schwartzkopf-Genswein
Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Surprisingly, we know very little about the effects of providing beef calves a rest (including feed and water) mid-way through a long-haul (>12 hours) transport. Finding an answer to this question has become more important due to recent changes to the Canadian humane transport regulations implemented by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in February of this year. The proposed changes state that un-weaned and weaned calves can be transported a maximum of 12 and 36 hours, respectively, before an 8 hour rest is required. To provide producers and policy makers with science-based information we conducted a study evaluating the effects of different rest stop durations after different lengths of transport on indicators of welfare in 7-8-mo-old conditioned beef calves.(more…)
Dr. Melissa Moggy, Alberta Farm Animal Care
Transportation is a stressful experience for all livestock. The care of animals during transport is a significant welfare concern. Transportation begins with the selection of animals for transport and ends with unloading animals at their destination. The Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) Part XII applies to all forms of animal transport in Canada, such as trailers, trains, and vessels. It is enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA can conduct an inspection at any time and at any location where animals are transported, including abattoirs, auction markets, and assembly centres.(more…)
By Roy Lewis DVM
A few years ago cattle in an American feedlot went down during transport to a packing plant, and others developed severe lameness. This condition was eventually labeled fatigued cattle syndrome (FCS) and became a huge animal welfare issue due to the appearance of severely lame, non-ambulatory cattle.(more…)
By Dr. Melissa Moggy, Alberta Farm Animal Care
Four students from the University of Alberta are conducting a capstone project with mentorship from Alberta Farm Animal Care and faculty member, Dr. Clover Bench. We were initially asked by the course professor for project ideas, and we considered multiple producer challenges on which to focus. Producer mental health was a consideration as we know that it is closely related to animal welfare. However, we realized that, with so many challenges that producers face, we need more information on what producers perceive are their biggest challenges. Regardless of what challenges are highlighted, they would have an impact on their mental health if producers feel overwhelmed and not supported.(more…)
Sarah Struthers and Karen Schwean-Lardner
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan
Beak treatment of laying hens is an important management practice as it is one of the most effective methods of controlling or eliminating cannibalism within egg-production flocks. Infrared beak treatment (IRBT) is the most commonly used methodology in Canada, and the available literature shows that IRBT has less of a negative impact on production and welfare than with other methodologies.(more…)
By Roy Lewis DVM
The livestock industry is coping very well and making great strides with addressing the topic of decreasing antimicrobial usage which indirectly helps with antimicrobial resistance. From veterinarians setting the example and producers from the cow-calf sector to the feedlot implementing effective coping strategies, huge progress is being made. There are management changes which can be made to minimize disease incidence. The policymakers can also look at ways to increase research in antimicrobials or alternative treatment methods. Monitoring and surveillance of drug resistance such as the Task Force headed by the veterinary colleges to look at the evolution of antibiotic resistance has been formed. What can you do today as a cattle producer in whichever segment of the cattle industry you are involved in? This article will address changes you can make to hopefully decrease disease incidence and therefore the need for more antimicrobial usage in your calves.(more…)
Dr. Kelsey Gray DVM, Prairie Swine Health Services
In British Colombia (B.C.), there are over 1500 outdoor small lot pig producers and this is expanding in Alberta and across Canada. This type of production is growing as “farm-to-fork” movements and eating local are increasing in popularity. As this group grows, we recognize that there is a gap in knowledge about raising pigs safely, humanely, and efficiently outdoors.(more…)
By Tory Shynkaruk and Karen Schwean-Lardner, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan
How we manage birds has a huge impact on their productivity, health, behaviour, and profitability. Lighting programs are an important management tool for poultry production. Traditionally, broiler chickens have been raised with little (1 hour) or no dark, with the belief this allowed them full visual access to their environment now know that birds need a period of darkness for optimal welfare and production. When birds are given a continuous period of 4-6 hours of darkness in a 24 hour period, they are more productive, healthier, more active, and sleep better.
The objective of this research was to understand the effects of different durations of darkness on broiler performance, feeding behaviour, and feed rates.(more…)
By: Kailyn Beaulac and Karen Schwean-Lardner, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan
Stocking density has the ability to directly influence economic return for producers however, it is important to consider other factors that may be affected by stocking density. While the majority of stocking density studies were conducted in the 1990’s or earlier, past studies have well documented the effects of stocking density on performance. There are few studies that evaluate how stocking density impacts the health, behaviour and overall well-being of the bird.
Another issue with stocking density research is that there are many other factors linked to stocking density that contribute to negative bird performance and welfare, such as feeder and drinker space, poor air quality, and poor litter quality. This study attempted to account for these factors by equalizing feeder and drinker space on a per bird basis, monitoring air quality for CO2 and ammonia and adjusting ventilation based on stocking density, and by evaluating litter moisture.
The aim of this research was to study the effects of stocking density with a comprehensive approach, ensuring that confounding factors were accounted for.(more…)
By Heather Matheson-Bird
Thirty-two livestock industry professionals and stakeholders took part in a daylong conversation around strategies to mitigate pain for livestock. The emphasis was on sharing and confirming current issues, identifying knowledge gaps and exploring ways to reach the desired goal of mitigating pain. Contributors represented livestock researchers, veterinarians, animal welfare specialists, academia, government, industry organizations and pharmaceutical companies. Participants shared updates on the present state of pain control in the livestock industry in Alberta.(more…)
By: Melissa Moggy
On May 15th and 16th I took part in the Beef Feedlot Welfare Auditor Training in Lethbridge, AB. However, the training started before that with two prerequisite online courses. First, we were required to take Beef Feedlot 201. The course ensures that the training participants are familiar with the feedlot industry. Everything from where the cattle originate, how they are transported, to how the feed is stored. Additionally, participants were required to take the NCFA eLearning course, which serves as training for processors for the Canadian Feedlot Animal Care Assessment Program.(more…)
The 2019 LCC was themed “Partners in Progress: Tools for success.” Some of the best examples of new, species-specific innovations that are adding to the toolbox were discussed in presentations on new research findings regarding poultry behavior and lighting and on progress toward a new Feedlot Assessment Tool.(more…)
One the biggest shifts in recent months in Canadian agriculture has been the transition to new rules and expectations regarding the use of antimicrobials.
What has been the impact? How are producers and their industries adjusting? These and other key questions were tackled in a panel discussion at the 2019 LCC on “Growing pains” related to antimicrobial use and the antimicrobial resistance issue.(more…)