Champions of animal care celebrated with AFAC Awards of Distinction

Awards winners recognized at 2021 Livestock Care Conference

Outstanding contributors to advancing farm animal care in Alberta were celebrated with Awards of Distinction at the recent Livestock Care Conference, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).

With a theme of “Are we there yet?” this leading animal care conference featured virtual speaker and workshop sessions throughout March, along with the presentation of these awards. The AFAC Awards of Distinction recognize individuals or groups who have made exceptional contributions in the field of livestock welfare, with awards in three categories: innovation, leadership and communication.

“These awards are typically one of the highlights of our annual conference and this year is no exception,” says Annemarie Pedersen, AFAC Executive Director.  “Our three winners for 2021 are leading examples among many across our industry who are key drivers of farm animal care progress.”

Innovation Award

The Award of Distinction for Innovation was awarded to Lee Smith, who ranches near Consort, Alberta, for his invention of “The Water Box.”  Smith recognized the need for a reliable solution to the ever-challenging need of providing water for livestock in difficult winter conditions and remote pasture setups. Over the past 10 years he worked on developing this unique option which has been received as a resounding success by ranchers across Canada.

“We went through a lot of prototypes and feedback from the industry helped get The Water Box where it is today,” says Smith. “There are many benefits. It saves work for the people caring for the animals. It improves water availability for the livestock. It’s gratifying to see many operations now using this new tool.”

Leadership Award

The Award of Distinction for Industry Leadership was awarded to Kendra Donnelly, for her various roles within the beef industry and her leadership related to animal welfare. Donnelly is an owner/operator of a large cattle feeding business with locations in Acme and High River, Alberta, as well as her family’s grocery business. Donnelly also serves key industry roles as an Executive Board Member for Alberta Cattle Feeders and as a member of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Council. Donnelly is described as committed to safety and welfare for both the people that work with her as well as the animals in her care. Her contributions help her businesses and her industry not only survive but advance even in the face of volatile and challenging times.

“I’m fortunate to be part of a great teams that encourage ideas, learning and working together toward improvement,” says Donnelly. “Everything we do is ultimately about sustainability and working together to provide the best possible product to consumers.”

Communication Award

The Award of Distinction for Communication was awarded to Chatsworth Farm, based out of Vermillion, Alberta. This award honors those that take an active role in effectively getting the message out about livestock issues and informing the public and agri-food industry about farm animal care and a factual and honest way to build trust and credibility.

Chatsworth Farm has risen to the challenge of using digital media to promote agricultural interests and stories. They use their social media platforms to spread both compelling narratives and accurate, factual information about livestock operations. To take it a step further, Chatsworth has successfully created virtual and in-person farm tours to connect with consumers.

“It’s such an honour to be recognized,” says Charlotte Wasa from Chatsworth Farm. “We have enjoyed using these new approaches to connect with the public and share what’s happening on the farm, including showing our management and animal care practices. We really feel we are making headway in bridging that gap between the farm and the consumer.”

More information on AFAC and the Livestock Care Conference is available at