Rimbey dairy farmer to lead animal care group

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As a new world of farm animal care takes shape the board of Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) has elected a Rimbey- area farmer to help lead the Alberta livestock industry.

“The backbone of AFAC has always been its producer board members and the organizations they represent, who bring a hands-on perspective to the opportunities for progress in farm animal care,” says Lorna Baird, AFAC executive director.

“That has never been more important than it is today. The new executive brings a depth of experience and dedication to farm animal care progress that is a major asset for our organization.”

AFAC is a partnership of Alberta’s major livestock groups, with a mandate to promote responsible, humane animal care within the livestock industry. Its membership represents the broad diversity of the farm animal care community in the province. The new AFAC executive was selected by the 18-member AFAC board at the 2011 annual general meeting.

Heini Hehli, a Rimbey-area dairy producer, was elected AFAC chair. Hehli represents Alberta Milk, where he has served as a delegate for more than 20 years. “Farm animal care, for my family and for me, is what our job is about as producers,” says Hehli of the 100-cow operation he runs with his wife, son and daughter-in-law. “As an industry, it’s an area where we always want to look for opportunities to strengthen our approaches.”

Communication is a critical component for the organization, he says. “We want to be very active in telling people about what we do, as the interest in farm animal care has never been higher for our customers and the public in general. AFAC has done good work over the years and we want to build on that progress.”

With the new executive board in place, it will be roll-up-the-sleeves time for AFAC in the months ahead, says Baird. “We’re in a time of lots of change and lots of opportunity. We’re gearing up on several fronts to make sure the new world of farm animal care taking shape is one where Alberta livestock producers are leaders in capturing the opportunities that are emerging. The new executive will have a pivotal role in directing that progress.”