New executive director named for Iowa Farm Animal Care Initiative
Group launches redesigned website to help address Iowans’ farm animal care questions
Mike Telford has been named the Executive Director of Iowa Farm Animal Care (IFAC), a unique coalition that includes veterinarians, animal behavior scientists and farmers committed to addressing Iowans’ questions regarding farm animal care.
Telford is taking the helm from Denny Harding, who helped launch IFAC four years ago. Harding says although just a handful of calls have come in since the inception of the program, each one is important, because IFAC is unique as an early intervention and education tool. “IFAC fills an important role as an entity that ensures the compassionate care of farm animals, and answers the questions consumers have about Iowa livestock farming. The expertise we have at IFAC, from both the veterinary, animal rescue, industry and statewide law enforcement is unique, not just to Iowa, but to the nation,” says Harding.
Telford has an extensive agricultural background. He began his career as a farm broadcaster for WHO radio and television before becoming the Chief Executive Officer for the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Council, where he managed staff in the areas of promotion, policy, research and consumer information at the state and national level for the pork industry. He has also served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of External Affairs for the Iowa State University Agricultural Foundation, managing investments related to farms, grants and scholarship programs.
Through its On Site Evaluation Team of experts, IFAC addresses concerns regarding farm animal care by tapping the combined strength and expertise of Iowa State University Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Ag and Life Sciences, as well as the Iowa State Veterinarian’s Office at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in response to questions consumers have about farm animal care.
As Executive Director of IFAC, Telford will help fulfill the initiative’s vision that ensures “every farm animal in Iowa receives responsible, humane care.” He will also oversee the advisory committee which includes Dr. David Schmitt, State of Iowa veterinarian; Iowa Secretary of Ag Bill Northey; Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League; and Doug Gwinn, Johnson County sheriff.
Iowans with questions can visit the new mobile friendly website at www.iowafarmanimalcare.org or call 1-800-252-0577. "Livestock farmers understand how important it is for consumers to know more about how their food is grown and animals are raised. The Iowa Farm Animal Coalition provides a place where Iowans can go for information on the latest standards of care and learn more about how responsible livestock farmers care for their animals,” said Telford. “We encourage anyone who has a question or a concern about farm animals to contact us.”
The free resource, sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), is also available to farmers who may need assistance in livestock care.