A new partnership involving farm groups, veterinarians, animal welfare groups and Iowa State University has formed to field complaints about animal care in Iowa. Denny Harding is executive director of the new Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition.

“We do have times where there are some concerns that area raised by the general public about how farmers raise their animals,” Harding says. “We wanted to answer some of those questions and also offer a service where people can call in if they do have a concern they’d like to pass on regarding a specific farm, so they would have someone to go to, so we can follow up with that concern and see what the situation is.”

Harding, a farmer who used to raise livestock, admits he may have to a bit of an arbitrator sometimes, but he expects he’ll mostly be an educator.

“If there is a need for some type of help…we would have a team at Iowa State that would be called that would go visit with that farmer,” Harding says.

This new Iowa organization is based on a group that’s been operating in Alberta, Canada for about 20 years.

“Ninety-nine percent of what’s going on in the livestock industry is very positive and we feel that the farmers are doing a great job,” Harding says. “Every once in a while there might be something that needs some examination and we think this is a way to have some input and education and management at the farm level and improve the care of the animals.”

The group kicked off their effort this morning with a news conference in Des Moines. Find the Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition’s phone number is 1-800-252-0577 and its website is www.iowafarmanimalcare.org.