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Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability

NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 2, Edition 13

Verified Beef Program moves ahead on new modules

September 4, 2014

Progress on new biosecurity, animal care and environmental stewardship additions

It's been a very active year on the sustainability front for Canada's beef industry. One of the most intriguing aspects was the announcement that the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program, the established on-farm food safety program for beef producers, would add new modules as part of the industry's efforts to anchor a new generation of on-farm sustainability.

Tentatively named VBP Plus, modules for biosecurity, animal care and environmental stewardship will be added to the on-farm food safety platform. NewStream caught up with national VBP program manager, Terry Grajczyk for an update.

What's the status of VBP module additions?

TG: We've made good progress on all fronts. A steering committee has been formed to provide overall direction. Comprised of value chain representatives including packers, retailers, food service, cow calf, feedlot and some marketers that committee has met a couple of times and help set the program off on solid footing.

In addition, working groups have been established for each module. These include representatives from across the livestock sector, including veterinarians, extension and producers themselves. VBP staff will help by doing the related technical work.


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Young rancher sees untapped market potential in animal care, sustainability

September 4, 2014


Coy Schellenberg and daughter Ella on Lady.

Young rancher sees untapped market potential in animal care, sustainability

Coy Schellenberg has a work life that is increasingly unusual in Canadian society. He's a fourth generation rancher on a heritage southern Saskatchewan ranch at a time when most of Canadian society is heading in the opposite direction – farther and farther removed from any agricultural roots.

That, in Schellenberg's mind, creates a challenge and an opportunity. Agriculture needs new ways to tell its story. That's the challenge. New options, that's an opportunity.

So when the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program, Canada's on-farm food safety program for the beef industry announced it was adding modules for animal care, biosecurity and environmental stewardship to its food safety platform, Schellenberg saw the positives.

To be fair, he had a unique perspective of those changes. One was as a young producer with a young family, running 450 cows alongside his parents and staking his future on sustainable beef production. The other was as a VBP staff member, a position he assumed when he became provincial coordinator for the program.


Click here to read the complete feature article.





Four things to know on the big Nestlé move

September 4, 2014


Vintage logo
Nestlé also becomes the first major food company to form an international partnership with an animal welfare NGO.

Food giant introduces new welfare standards for suppliers

It's the latest domino to fall and it's a big one. Nestlé, one of the globe's largest integrated food companies, recently announced new animal welfare standards that will affect 7,300 of its suppliers around the world, including Canada.

The move reaches further to "the suppliers of those suppliers" and includes broad implications for primary producers. Here's a snapshot of several key aspects.


Click here to read the complete feature article.





'Go time' for next wave of Codes activity

September 4, 2014


Dr. Tina Widowski of the University of Guelph led the scientific review for the Poultry – Layers Code

Completing 'Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders,' as well as 'Poultry – Layers,' are key priorities

The Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) and National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) announced support from the federal government to drive a new phase of progress.

Approved activities include finishing two poultry Codes of Practice that were started under previous Agri-Flexibility funding. The first Code is for Chickens, Turkeys and Breeders, from Hatchery to Processing Plant. The second Code is for Poultry – Layers. Major progress to date has included the completion of a review of scientific research on priority issues in each animal category.


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Headwaters

September 4, 2014

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

AFAC telling the story of farm animal care


Kristen Hall of AFAC

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) is engaging on a number of fronts to update its role in facilitating knowledge and progress in farm animal care.

One of the latest examples is "Animal Care in Alberta: Telling Our Story" – a multi-faceted project with the goal of connecting consumers with farmers.

AFAC's first major activity through this work is the "Heart of a Farmer" video series, produced in partnership with the FarmOn Foundation and planned for release in the coming weeks on AFAC's new YouTube channel.

"These short videos will highlight many of the issues that are currently affecting the agricultural industry in order to allow the public to understand why farmers do what they do," says Kristen Hall, AFAC Marketing and Communications Manager.

AFAC's information leadership efforts have also included sponsorship of NewStream Farm Animal Care.

Sustainability report card to include animal care

It's back to school time and the themes of progress and achievement are also front and centre in the fast evolving world of farm animal care.

One key initiative to keep an eye on is a major "Sustainability Assessment" project underway from the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). The assessment is essentially a benchmarking project, designed to "enable the Canadian beef industry to benchmark where it is today and set targets and an action plan for the future." It was initiated in March and in September is moving into an all-important data collection phase. This will include a major survey involving all aspects of the supply chain.



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