As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across Canada, communities and organizations were forced to abruptly change plans and processes to protect the health and wellbeing of Canadians and help flatten the curve. AFAC was no exception. The organization was one of the first in the agriculture industry to quickly pivot and successfully transformed its annual Livestock Care Conference (LCC) into a virtual online conference in just five days.
At the end of the day, AFAC’s efforts proved worthwhile, with 101 registered participants and an average of 88 individuals logged in per session. Moving to a virtual format enabled AFAC to connect with individuals from Canada and the United States who weren’t originally able to attend. Even better, the technology encouraged everyone to have a voice in the conversation with the inclusion of chat functionality, where participants could chat with each other and ask questions of the presenters. Many registrants were curious about topics like shipping across the border with new transport regulations and how to plan for emergencies such as COVID-19.
Some of the speakers AFAC was honoured to present included Assistant Deputy Minister of Agriculture, John Conrad; Keynote speaker, Dr. Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis Professor & CE Air Quality Specialist, Dept Animal Science; Emergency Preparation expert, Rebecca Gimenez Husted; and Dr. Marina von Keyserlingk, UBC Professor and co-director of the Animal Welfare program.
The LCC also featured a digital exhibition for the trade show, where registrants could browse online and interact with exhibitors. Although the Tools for Difficult Encounters workshop was postponed, Becky Taylor, workshop facilitator, joined the conference to share a teaser of the tools and conversations the workshop will cover when rescheduled. The Awards of Distinction for Communications (Barbara Duckworth), Industry Leadership (Rich Vesta, Harmony Beef), and Innovation (Gateway Carriers) were also presented throughout the conference.
Without the committed support of sponsors like Cargill, Alberta Farmer Express, The Western Producer, Sermo Farms, and many more, AFAC would not have been able to host the LCC 2.0 — with this year’s theme appropriately entitled Raising the Bar. For more details about the conference, click here: https://www.afac.ab.ca/livestock-care-conference/2020-event/.