Annemarie Pedersen is the new executive director of Alberta Farm Animal Care, a livestock welfare organization.
Pedersen is a former industry relations director with Canada Beef, has operated her own communications consulting business and has worked in agricultural communications for more than a decade.
She started the job Nov. 20 and on Nov. 27 was scheduled to participate in her first board meeting with AFAC’s eight board members.
“(AFAC) will be celebrating 25 years next year so I think a big part of what I’ll be doing is taking a look back at what’s been accomplished, which is a lot, and taking a look ahead and making sure that we’re keeping pace with the changes,” said Pedersen.
“A lot has changed for animal agriculture in 25 years. What does AFAC in 2017 and 2027 look like? That’s going to be a big part of my role.”
AFAC provides programs and services surrounding training, school and youth education programs and operates the Alert line, a contact that allows people to report animal welfare concerns and suspected abuse.
Pedersen said it is important for AFAC to evolve along with the industry.
“That’s got to be the watch word for any agricultural association or industry today,” she said.
“It’s constantly looking at evolution and how they need to manage consumer concerns, demands of partners down the value chain. Those are all parts of making sure that we’re serving all masters as much as we can.”
Ontario-based Farm and Food Care is an example of how diverse groups can work toward common goals, said Pedersen.
“We all want agriculture to succeed. We all want people to feel comfortable in what they’re eating and what they’re buying at the store and there’s ways that we can do that together effectively.”
The new executive director has a background in beef organizations, so getting to know the players in other livestock industry groups and their respective issues involving animal welfare will be high on her priority list.
AFAC’s commodity members include organizations in the beef, chicken, goat, egg, lamb, milk and pork sectors.