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Adolf Dalke

Not afraid of change


October 2, 2009
By Marty Brett CFC

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Confidence and composure are two words that describe Adolf Dalke to a “T”. This experienced chicken farmer exudes calm and self-assurance, traits which have placed him in good stead in the 37 years that he has been in the chicken business.

Confidence and composure are two words that describe Adolf Dalke to a “T”. This experienced chicken farmer exudes calm and self-assurance, traits which have placed him in good stead in the 37 years that he has been in the chicken business.

BC
Adolf Dalke and his family feel that it’s important to be part of a great system that provides consumers with a fair price.

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Born in Germany, Adolf has spent most of his life in southern British Columbia.

He was first exposed to the chicken industry when he caught birds for the farmer who lived up the road. One day, the farmer pulled him aside and suggested that Adolf consider getting into the industry as well.

Keeping the advice on the back burner, Adolf spent several years in heavy construction where he cut his teeth building a series of pulp mills and refineries.

A few years later, he filled out a form to qualify for a new entrant growth program from the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board. He explored the idea with his two brothers, who signed up as well. All three were selected in 1971 and were each allotted birds.

Adolf, along with his wife, Alice, was allocated 8,000 birds. Half were roasters and the others were Cornish. In 1974, the quota was converted to broilers and the farm has been growing broilers ever since.

For a time, he continued to work construction with his brothers as they built a variety of poultry and dairy barns but, over the years, he slowly let go of the construction to concentrate on his birds.

“I like the birds,” he said, “watching them grow as we try to improve from flock to flock is rewarding.”

A firm believer that animals need to be treated with the utmost care, Adolf believes the chicken industry in Canada has made great steps forward in moving ahead on issues of biosecurity, surveillance, disease control, and especially food safety and animal care.

Stability and a guaranteed price for consumers are two other reasons that Adolf is proud to be part of a Canadian success story. It’s important to him that he is part of a “super system that provides consumers with a fair price.”

“It helps to be organized and have an industry that works together. I enjoy working with others in the industry. We need to be responsive to changes in demand, especially those that are driven by a changing (and growing) population with a different cultural background.”

While not afraid of change, when he follows events at the World Trade Organization, he sometimes reads things that concern him about the future of the industry. “I’m a little concerned,” he said. “I hope that things will turn in our favour and I hope that the government continues to fight for our industry.”
“It helps that we have a product that everybody needs: a stable food supply.”

Things have not always gone smoothly for the Dalkes. “We’re used to facing adversity,” he said, “since my wife and I started we’ve had everything that could go wrong happen to us: floods, a three tonne feed spill, losing a large number of birds to heat loss, a fire, everything that could go wrong has. We never got discouraged, despite the adversity. Worrying doesn’t help. You just have to roll up your sleeves and fix the problem.”

He’s hoping that the industry will continue to grow, and that it remains as strong and stable as it is today. The last thing he wants right now is more adversity.