Yes, There’s an App for Farm Animal Care

By Kristen Kelderman, Farm Animal Care Coordinator, Farm & Food Care

The days of carrying a notepad around the farm still exist, but there’s a new kid in the barn and field that carries a lot more functionality than a farmer’s well-worn pad of paper.

Farmers love technology and have embraced it willingly, from GPS-equipped tractors, to radio frequency eartags, to robotic milking machines. Maybe some generations have adopted it faster than others, and certainly some forms more than others, but farming and technology go hand-in-hand.

Thinking back to where mobile tech was just a few years ago when I picked up my first cell phone. I was a late bloomer for a millennial. I distinctly remember a conversation with my dad about texting that went something like this…

“Why would you text anyone? If I want something I’m going to pick up the phone and talk to a person. Who needs texting?” My siblings and I just shook our heads thinking that dad will never get it.

Fast forward to today, most of my communications with dad are through text messaging. We kids had it wrong. Now dad sends me pictures from the farm, uses abbreviations like lol (properly!) and populates his messages with emojis. And I love it.

Usually he has a newer phone than me, carries it everywhere with him and is always asking me if I’ve downloaded the latest app. But the guy doesn’t use Facebook. Or that tweetagram thing, as he calls it. But, like many other farmers, he recognizes that some apps have made farming more innovative, efficient, informed, and sometimes even easier.  

IMPACT 2Whatever you can dream up, there is probably an app for that. And now with Farm & Food Care’s IMPACT program there’s an app for animal care information.

Accessing info on animal care has never been easier from the barn, field or beside the chute.

The multi-species app offers information on euthanasia, procedures, handling, transport and other general care. Videos, articles, decision trees, loading density calculator are all at your fingertips and in your pocket. It’s not your grandpa’s factsheet!

Don’t want to read an article or watch a video on your phone screen? You can email it to yourself and watch it later. You can also bookmark what is important to you and share it between your employees, colleagues, and fellow farmers.

The app is available for download for Apple and Android devices, and is free. Have a new employee starting on your farm? Use it as part of your training program or implement it into on-going training.

Download it today. If you don’t have a smart phone, not to worry. IMPACT resources are available online by visiting www.farmIMPACT.ca.

Technology can be great but if you regularly experience a slow internet, let the Farm & Food Care office know. A USB stick with videos and content can be sent to your farm. There are options, no matter your circumstances.

Regardless of how you prefer to access information today — apps, websites, carrier pigeons — there is no doubt that we live in the age of endless information and technology has played a large roll in this. Farmers know the value of continually learning the best practices for today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

A chance ad brings this calendar-model couple back to farming

2010 calendarBy Resi Walt

(Thamesville) – It was a chance sighting of an advertisement in a local newspaper that gave Clarence Nywening and his wife Pat the opportunity to return to their farming roots.

Clarence was raised on a beef farm and Pat on a dairy farm. But, after marrying, they had moved away from the farm and on to a different business ventures. However, Clarence said, “It was always my dream to go back to farming.”

In the early days of their marriage they owned a cleaning business, cleaning churches, houses and offices. One day, while cleaning at an office building, they noticed an ad in a newspaper for a farm that was for sale. They knew instantly it was where they wanted to be. Continue reading

Livestock on the road – how you can help in an accident

By Jean Clavelle

Wtransport PICell, it’s that time of year.  Cattle are coming home from pasture, calves are being weaned and sent to feedlot and horse enthusiasts are enjoying the last few pleasant riding days left of the season.  No one plans to have one, but accidents do happen especially when animals are involved.  And whether you are the one involved in a motor vehicle accident or an innocent bystander it’s important to know what to do and how you can help when livestock are on the loose.

The top 5 things you need to know about livestock in an emergency:

  1. Livestock do not understand lights and sirens mean pullover.  This will definitely not make them stop.
  2. When an animal feels cornered, it will fight or try to run.
  3. Livestock view us as predators and their natural instinct is to flee from predators.
  4. Prey animals are herd animals and become extremely agitated when isolated or separated from other animals.  Single animals are extremely dangerous animals.
  5. Once livestock are excited or scared it will take at least 20 to 30 minutes to calm them back down. Continue reading

Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan pleased with the success of another ‘We Care’ Billboard Campaign!

By Jean Clavelle

TBillboard campaign June 16his year marks another triumph for the “We Care” billboard campaign initiated by the Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan (FACS).  The program, which began in 1996, feature beef, bison, horse, chicken, egg and swine producers with their animals and are posted around busy thoroughfares of Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw.

Continue reading

Meet the face of September in the Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Taking over shares in her family farm while majoring in molecular biology and minoring in statistics at the University of Guelph was not what Kelsey Ottens pictured herself doing when she finished high school.

Ottens, now in her fourth year at the University of Guelph, was looking for a summer job two years ago when her parents approached both her and her brother about buying the family’s broiler breeder farm from them. A broiler breeder farm breeds chickens for other farmers to raise for meat.  The siblings now own the majority of the farm. Her brother runs the farm while Ottens helps with management decisions and works at the farm on weekends and during holidays from school.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  It’s a part time job, but way more interesting than other jobs I could have had,” says Ottens. Although she is not sure what life holds for her at the end of university, Ottens says she will probably have a career off of the farm, but continue farming.

Kelsey Ottens

Kelsey Ottens

Because of her commitment to farming, Ottens is featured in the 2013 Faces of Farming Calendar published by Farm & Food Care Ontario.  Her page is sponsored by the Ontario Broiler Chicken Hatching Egg Producers’ Association. Continue reading

Meet the face of September in the Faces of Farming calendar

 by Patricia Grotenhuis

Farming is just in the blood for some people, as is the case with Jim Patton, a sixth-generation farmer from near Alliston.

Patton was not always sure he was going to farm.  He decided to attend the University of Guelph after doing a project on the importance of agriculture in his final year of high school.  He graduated with a diploma in agricultural business, and returned to the farm. 

Broiler breeder farmer Jim Patton

Once Patton returned to the farm, he began making changes to modernize the family’s business.  Patton is featured as the month of September in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar, published by the Farm Care Foundation, because of his dedication to making improvements. 

In 1998, Patton began keeping broiler breeder chickens. These are roosters as well as the hens who lay fertilized eggs that will hatch into chickens raised for meat. In 2000 he added raising pullets (young hens) to the farm.  In addition to the birds, Patton also grows corn, soybeans and wheat.  He makes it a point to go to as many industry conferences and workshops as he can, including a three-day training course at the University of Alberta and a no-till(age) conference in Cincinnati.  He sets a personal goal to bring at least one idea home to implement on the farm from each event that he attends. This interest has also led him to the Innovative Farmers of Ontario association – where he now serves as a director. Continue reading