Producers
May 3, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Carolynne Griffith of Alvinston has been named the 2017 recipient of the Farm & Food Care Ontario Champion Award.

Griffith is an egg and crop farmer from Lambton County and a past chair of Egg Farmers of Ontario. Throughout her career as an egg farmer, she has answered thousands of consumer questions about eggs and egg farming at various events such as the Canadian National Exhibition, Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Western Fair, local events and schools. She was also instrumental in helping to establish the Who made Your Eggs Today? Campaign.

As a past chair of FarmGate 5, Carolynne represented farmers on a global level in numerous trade negotiations around the world including meetings in Geneva, Hong Kong and Brussels.

Harry Pelissero, General Manager of Egg Farmers of Ontario, applauds Griffith for her strong agricultural advocacy through all positions. “Carolynne dedicates herself to all undertakings, and she shows her genuine passion and pride for farming with grace and quiet elegance. She consistently commits her time, knowledge and experiences to engaging industry members, students and Canadians in general.”

Lambton Federation of Agriculture spokesperson Al Langford says Griffith has been instrumental in the agriculture sector, having supported many local and provincial farm organizations in a wide variety of ways – from organizing events and serving as a board member and past Chair of Egg Farmers of Ontario, to actively engaging the Canadian public. “

The Champion Award has been presented annually, since 1999, to worthy agricultural advocates.

Farm & Food Care Ontario is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to ensure public trust and confidence in food and farming.

For more information visit www.FarmFoodCareON.org.
April 28, 2017, Toronto, Ont. - Pecking Order, a new documentary film set at the 2015 New Zealand National Poultry Show, takes viewers into the world of competitive poultry pageantry and examines the politics in the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in its near 150-year history.

Competitive poultry pageantry is not only a highly entertaining hobby—it’s an obsession. For members of Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club in New Zealand, it’s also way of life.

Senior member, Beth Inwood, and president, Doug Bain, have tasted the glory of raising perfect rosecomb cockerels and rumpless pullets, while newbie teenagers Rhys Lilley and Sarah Bunton enjoy the good clean fun. But feathers start to fly when infighting breaks out in the club during the run-up to the 2015 National Poultry Show.

As energetic as any sport film and as comedic as you’d imagine Best in Show chicken pageantry to be, Pecking Order serves up an endearing look at poultry passion.

Pecking Order is set to premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, Ont., on April 29.

For more information, visit: Pecking Order - Hot Docs International Film Festival
Jan. 13, 2017 – After graduating from high school, Gary Baars hung up a shingle as TNT Agri-Services, offering “relief milking and much more.”

“Much more” soon started becoming a reality and on Jan. 11th, the now 33-year-old Chilliwack, B.C. dairyman, hay salesman and cattle dealer and his wife, Marie (26), became the B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers for 2017.

In 2006, TNT Agri Services turned into TNT Hay Sales as Baars started selling hay, first to local horse farms and then to local dairy farms.

“We sell a lot of hay to different dairy farms,” Baars says. Not long after, the young entrepreneur expanded TNT to include cattle sales. When Farm Credit Canada offered him a large loan with “no strings attached” in early 2011, Baars used it to start his own dairy farm.

“I had enough money to buy quota for 15 cows,” he recalls.

Two years later, Marie’s grandmother asked if they would manage her 160-cow 80-acre dairy farm in east Abbotsford. The Baars agreed on condition they could buy it.

“We amalgamated our small herd with her larger herd and have been steadily improving the facilities over the past few years,” Baars reports.

His entrepreneurship did not stop there. Last year, he purchased additional hay-growing acreage in Greendale and joined up with two partners to buy a 472-acre 100-cow dairy in Manitoba.

“We have already grown that farm by 20 per cent,” Baars says.

He has also served as a director of both the Mainland Young Milk Producers and the B.C. Young Farmers. Baars’ entrepreneurial spirit even extends itself to his recreational activities. Gary and his father-in-law have begun holding Cornfield Races twice a year, inviting friends and neighbours to race beat-up cars on the farm.

To earn the 2017 award from judges Rick Thiessen (2004 BC & Canadian Outstanding Young Farmer), Mark Sweeney (retired B.C. Ministry of Agriculture berry and horticulture specialist) and Kurt Bausenhaus (KPMG), the Baars outpointed Jeremy and Tamara Vaandrager of
Vaandrager Farms in west Abbotsford.

After managing several egg farms for other owners, the Vaandragers obtained a 3,000 bird quota in the 2010 B.C. Egg Marketing Board new entrant lottery. In the six years since, they have increased their quota holdings to 6,000 birds and are in the process of converting their farm from a free-run operation to an aviary.

“Aviaries have become common in Europe but it is still a relatively new system in North America,” Vaandrager notes.

The BCOYF program is sponsored by the BC Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, Clearbrook Grain & Milling, Farm Credit Canada and Insure Wealth. To be eligible for the award, applicants must be under 40 and derive at least two-thirds of their gross revenue from farming. They are
judged on the progress in their agricultural careers, the sustainability of their farming operations and involvement in their industry and community.

Gary and Marie Baars will represent B.C. at the national OYF competition in Penticton, B.C., in November. The national competition is supported by AdFarm, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Annex Business Media, Bayer Crop Science, BDO, CIBC, Farm Management Canada and John Deere.

Dec. 7, 2016 - Andrew and Jennifer Lovell of Keswick Ridge, N.B. and Dominic Drapeau and Célia Neault of Ste-Françoise-de-Lotbinière, Que. have been named Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. These two farm families were chosen from seven regional farm couples across Canada at OYF’s national event last week in Niagara Falls, Ont.
 
Both families have dreamed of owning their own farm since they were young and were not afraid to make changes and embrace technology along the way. Their entrepreneurial spirits and adaptability has made them successful both on and off the farm.
 
“All of this year’s regional honourees have shown us their incredible passion for agriculture,” OYF president Luanne Lynn says. “It was extremely difficult for the judges to make their decision, but ultimately our winners stood out for their state-of-the art thinking and commitment to the future of Canadian agriculture.”
 
The Lovell’s story is different than most because neither of them grew up on a farm. In 2012 they purchased their farm River View Orchards with roots tracing back to 1784, and created a diversified u-pick farm market operation. It wasn’t an easy start as they suffered $100,000 in damage in 2014, but they persevered and adapted their plans until they were able to begin full production again. By offering fence and trellis construction services and building attractions which brought over 1,400 visitors to their farm they were able to carry on with the farm they have always dreamed of.
 
Drapeau and Neault are third-generation dairy and field crop farmers who are not afraid to make changes and embrace technology. Raised in a farming family, Dominic got involved in the family business at a young age. When he was 16, he was performing artificial insemination on cows and developed his management skills by taking over the herd and feeding responsibilities.  In the barn they use genomic testing on young animals, motion detectors for reproduction, a smart scale on the mixer-feeder and temperature probes close to calving. In the fields, the farm uses a satellite navigation system for levelling, draining, seeding, fertilizing and spraying. With these innovations over the last four years, they have enabled the farm to increase overall yields by five to 10 per cent each year.
 
“The national event in Niagara Falls this year was a great opportunity to showcase all of the great contributions to Canadian agriculture,” Lynn says. “All of the regional OYF honourees really went outside of the box and pushed the boundaries this year.”
 
Every year this event brings recognition to outstanding farm couples in Canada between 18 and 39 years of age who have exemplified excellence in their profession while fostering better urban-rural relations. The Lovell’s and Drapeau/Neault were chosen from seven regional finalists, including the following honourees from the other five regions:

  • Brian and Jewel Pauls, Chilliwack B.C.
  • Shane and Kristin Schooten, Diamond City, Alta.
  • Dan and Chelsea Erlandson, Outlook, Sask.
  • Jason and Laura Kehler, Carman, Man.
  • Adrian and Jodi Roelands, Lambton Shores, Ont.
Celebrating 36 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.
Nov. 28, 2016 - On Nov. 24, 2016 the board of directors of Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) elected Benoît Fontaine of Stanbridge Station, Que. as its chair.

Fontaine most recently served as the 1st vice-chair of the CFC executive committee. He initially joined the board of directors in 2013 as an alternate, and became Quebec’s director in 2014. Fontaine farms in the Lac Champlain area and raises chicken and turkeys.

A 2nd generation chicken farmer, Fontaine has been heavily involved in the Union des producteurs agricoles since 1999. Fontaine has also served on both CFC's policy and production committees.

The leadership turnover followed the resignation of Dave Janzen, who has stepped down from his CFC duties for personal reasons. Janzen represented British Columbia on the board of directors as an alternate in 2006 and served as the B.C. director from 2008. He joined the executive committee in 2010 and became chair in 2012.

In a news release, CFC thanked Janzen for his many years of dedication, leadership and service.

At the same time, the CFC board also welcomed Derek Janzen to its executive committee as 1st vice chair.

With an eye to the future, Chicken Farmers of Canada says it will work with all its partners to ensuring clear, common goals for the future, and set a solid path and purpose for all stakeholders.

In 2014, Canadian farmers produced more than 595 million dozen eggs per year and had eight straight years of sales growth. According to a recent study by Egg Farmers of Canada, it takes 69 per cent less water and half the amount of feed today to produce a dozen eggs, while hens are producing nearly 50 per cent more and are living longer than they did 50 years ago.

Layer operations across the U.S. and Canada are progressing, and this fact is evident when visiting the layer operation at McGee Colony, recognized by Star Egg Company in 2015 with a first place finish in Saskatchewan for reaching the dozen eggs per bird and cost per dozen eggs quota.

As of 2014, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) listed the average Canadian flock size at 20,192 hens; however, Canadian egg farms can range from a few hundred to more than 400,000 hens. The average laying hen produces approximately 305 eggs per year (25.4 dozen). The Bovan standard is 353 eggs per hen housed at 78 weeks.

The flock of 16,200 Bovan White managed by Jerry Mandel and his father John Mandel boasted a production of 370 eggs per hen housed, with 106 grams of feed intake per hen per day at 78 weeks, in 2015. The number of eggs produced was above the Bovan standard, while the feed intake per hen per day was below the Bovan standard. Jerry and John emphasize that they had great help in earning the plaque from Star Egg Company that was presented to them at the Saskatchewan Egg Producers annual meeting.  

“Part of making this program work is good teamwork, with everyone making sure the hens get the best nutrition, health and management care,” said Jerry.

McGee Colony, located near Rosetown, Saskatchewan, is named after the site of the old village of McGee. The poultry barn and associated equipment are fairly new and well-maintained. Even so, there are challenges that need to be met.

The well water’s pH level measures around 9. This is closely monitored and adjusted to 6.5 via acidification of the water on a continual basis. As a result, chlorination of the water is achieved with a more acidic pH, as chlorination works at its optimum for water sanitation with a pH around 5–6.5.

The flock is an integral part of the colony. The feed is produced on-farm in a computerized mill, and the grains are grown specifically for use by the flock. Being located in the Rosetown area means wheat is the cereal of choice, not corn. By milling their wheat, McGee Colony was able to change to a larger screen (a 1-inch screen) with several advantages:

  • There are less broken kernels. This reduces feed separation as it goes through the travelling hopper feed delivery system.
  • Whole wheat causes more feed grinding in the gizzard, so more endogenous enzymes are mixed with the feed. Feed passage is then slowed, allowing for better digestion and thus gut health.
  • Less electricity is required.
  • Faster feed throughput is achieved at the mill.

The integration of the poultry unit on the farm means the field crop operation is influenced by the poultry operation and the poultry operation is in turn influenced by the field crop operation. Manure is handled so that it is dried as rapidly as possible and initial moisture content is observed constantly.  Incoming water, as mentioned above, is treated to optimize pH as well as with chlorine. This combination helps to avoid excessively wet droppings.  

McGee’s rations do not contain meat meal, so their nutritionist at EMF Nutrition pays close attention to the osmotic balance of the ration, which also helps to reduce the fecal moisture. The inclusion of a yucca plant extract technology helps to reduce ammonia in the barn while also lowering the amount of ventilation required in the winter to remove ammonia, thus allowing for ease of maintaining daytime temperatures at 20 degrees Celsius and nighttime temperatures at 22 degrees Celsius in the winter.  

The manure, which is removed to the storage room at the end of the barn, has heated air from the barn drawn over it as it is exhausted from the barn. This also helps to further dry the manure. The dry manure is then removed from the storage area and allowed to cure before it is applied as fertilizer on the fields.  From this process, less nitrogen escapes from dry manure. The less the nitrogen escapes from the manure and the better bound the nitrogen is, the higher the nitrogen content is in the manure that is applied to the fields.  

McGee Colony also includes an enzyme technology in their rations to increase the digestibility of plant-based ingredients, thus reducing the need for supplemental phosphorus and decreasing the phosphorus levels in the manure. By lowering manure phosphorus and increasing nitrogen, McGee Colony can minimize the land required to accept the phosphorus while maximizing the amount of nitrogen applied from the manure. This nutrient management plan helps to reduce the nitrogen fertilizer required to meet the needs for next year’s crop.

Next year, the colony will be using a foliar-applied source of micronutrients on the land growing wheat for the poultry unit. This micronutrient application helps to optimize plant growth and harvest yield. Higher yield means less land required to grow crops for the poultry unit and more land for cash crops. Higher yield also means more nutrients removed, and the poultry manure can be spread over the land with less time and less fuel.

McGee Colony has also implemented some of the programs other successful layer operations have shared within the industry. Dave Coburn of Coburn Farms spoke about its “Best Flock Ever” (Canadian Poultry, April 2012), and mentioned including the Alltech Poultry Pak® program in addition to the use of large particle sizes to stimulate the gizzard. Both of these methods were implemented in the Coburn Farms program to improve gut health and ultimately egg production.   McGee Colony has also incorporated both of these programs to maximize their eggs per quota and feed efficiency. With these programs in place, in addition to improving soil management and yield with effective soil nutrient management, McGee Colony is successfully building a sustainable agricultural program.  

“The eggshells are better, even with the older 70 week birds, and we have less eggshell cracks than before,” said Jerry. “The birds are keeping their feathers longer and they always appear to be active.”

Nova Scotia broiler producer Nick de Graaf passed several significant milestones in 2008.

First, he bought out his father’s share in the Annapolis Valley poultry farm founded by his Dutch grandfather in the early 1960s in Kings County, Nova Scotia, between Canning and Port Williams.

Next, Nick bought more quota, increasing his flock production by 196,000 birds annually. This came just three years after the de Graafs bought additional quota in 2005, increasing their flock production by 102,000 birds per year. “We grow 660,000 chickens per year and we also grow 67,000 turkeys per year,” says Nick.

He ships his birds to the Sunnymel poultry processing plant in Clair, Northern New Brunswick.

Nick’s poultry production is audited for four food safety and animal welfare programs. For his broilers, this includes the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s (CFC) On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program (OFFSAP) and CFC’s Animal Care Program. He also follows two similar programs for his turkey production.

Lastly, in 2008 he also built a feed mill to process poultry rations from his crops.

He grows wheat, primarily for straw bedding for his flocks and he is 100 per cent self-sufficient in corn cultivation.

Nick owns 700 acres of arable land and he also crops an additional 900 acres in scattered parcels across Kings County.

He only grows 65 per cent of the soybeans he uses in his rations as he doesn’t yet have enough acreage for soybean self-sufficiency. However, he is looking for more land.

Nick graduated in 1998 from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, now the Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus with a B.Sc. in  Agricultural Economics and four years later, in 2002, he became financially involved in the family farm.

Nick is now a director on both the Chicken Farmers of Nova Scotia and the Turkey Farmers of Nova Scotia marketing boards. To date, he has served seven years on the chicken marketing board and two years on the turkey board. He is also a past-president of the Kings county Federation of Agriculture.

He and his wife, Trudy, have three children. Their eldest daughter, Malorie, is married with two children of her own.

Their next daughter, Vanessa, is 16 and their son, Tyler, is 14.

Vanessa plans to attend Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus and seems interested in farming after graduation, de Graaf says.

At age 40 he has not yet begun farm succession planning.

Off-farm recreational interests of the de Graaf family include travel and de Graaf says he and his two youngest children enjoy the shooting sports of trap and skeet.

Sept. 26, 2016 - Adrian and Jodi Roelands of Roelands Plant Farms Inc. have been selected as Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016. The winners were announced at the Ontario regional event in Stratford, Ontario on Sept. 13.

Roelands Plant Farms Inc. is a greenhouse in south western Ontario where Adrian and Jodi custom grow premium cucumber, tomato and pepper seedlings for sale to vegetable production greenhouses. Since construction of the greenhouse in 2013, they have since expanded twice, bringing their total operation to 12 acres. The industry uses computer technology to automatically control almost every aspect of climate, and the increasing amount of automation available to growers enables them to produce extremely high quality vegetables while keeping costs competitive.

“The Ontario OYF region put on a great event in conjunction with Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock to showcase the OYF nominees,” says OYF vice president East Carl Marquis. “Adrian and Jodi really demonstrated their passion for agriculture and I’m excited for them to represent the region at the national event this fall.”

Both Adrian and Jodi have been involved in agriculture their whole lives. Adrian grew up on a farrow to finish hog operation, and Jodi grew up working alongside her family on their broiler breeder operation. Even before they got married, it was evident that farming together was in their future - it was just a matter of how and when.

In 2012 Adrian and Jodi made the decision to venture out on their own, and by early 2013 they had started construction on four acres of greenhouse propagation space on a newly purchased farm. The operation started with just the two of them, and quickly grew to 60 full-time employees and another 100 staff seasonally. Managing a farm like this has meant learning a lot of new skills quickly, and adapting their management styles accordingly.

One of the principles that guide Adrian and Jodi is to remain committed to their agricultural roots, and endeavour to be a leader into the changing future of farming. They see the future of the family farm being much different than the past - it will be larger, more productive and technology based, and will employ more highly-skilled staff.

Celebrating 36 years, Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ program is an annual competition to recognize farmers that exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture. Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, making the majority of income from on-farm sources, participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen each year. The program is sponsored nationally by CIBC, John Deere, Bayer, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative. The national media sponsor is Annex Business Media, and the program is supported nationally by AdFarm, BDO and Farm Management Canada.

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2016 will be chosen at the National Event in Niagara Falls, Ont. from Nov. 29 – Dec. 4, 2016.

 

For Susan Schafers, the choice to go cage-free in 2007 was obvious. “At the time, my father still owned the quota, and he downsized from 30,000 to 7000 layers,” she explains. “For that smallish flock size, free-run made sense financially. And also, my brother, Martin Kanehl, was selling poultry barn equipment, and we saw the writing on the wall with cage-free. Everyone would be moving that way. I think we were second in Alberta to do it.”

Schafers’ operation, STS Farms, located in Stony Plain (outside Edmonton) supplies Burnbrae, which is the sole provider of eggs to McDonald’s Canada. Schafers is pleased that the retail chain sources eggs, meat, potatoes and more from Canadian farms, a practice some other chains don’t choose to employ.

STS Farms was started by Schafers’ parents Manfred and Elke Kanehl, in the early 1960’s. They were immigrants from Germany who met and married here. “My Dad did everything from working the railroads to being a cowboy to running a hatchery,” Schafers explains. “At one point, he got a few hundred chickens and then grew from there. He grew grain as well, and had a broiler-breeder operation and then went to layers. As their layer flock downsized and they stopped cropping, their pullet operation grew and STS Farms now produces 150,000 pullets a year. “We started with free run housing with the pullets, then went to caged and now we’ll be switching to loose housing again, which might mean downsizing,” Schafers says. “The next renovation will be aviary free-run, with birds having the opportunity to learn how to fly.” She notes that in 2007, she would have gone to an aviary system for the layers, but they weren’t around at the time. “Now there are better styles,” she says. “They’ve done a lot of development work, and now you have the ability to place more birds.”

While Schafers supports producers using aviary, enriched cage or free-run systems, she notes that when you go from cages to one of the looser housing systems, there is an increase in the environmental footprint of the farm – a fact which many consumers may not realize. “You have to build more barns, which takes up more space and uses more resources and adds to the cost,” she notes. “That’s the reality. It will take time for industry to make those changes. I think consumers should have the choice of buying eggs from hens living in different housing systems, but it’s different when retailers and some consumers dictate a single choice to egg farmers and to all consumers. Going to all free-run barns across the country will mean the price of eggs will go up substantially. But there is a silver lining in that there is excitement and enthusiasm in the industry along with some fear and uncertainties. We have a very strong and positive industry. Eggs are considered healthy again, and we’re in growth mode. I’d like to build a second barn in time.”

Schafers has five full-time employees and several part-time employees, some of whom have been with her over 20 years. She has a farm manager, but does lots of hands-on daily tasks such as gathering eggs and loading pullets as she enjoys it, it keeps her in good touch with the birds and it provides good balance. Her parents live next door to her and her children on the farm, and her Dad Manfred still enjoys helping out and sharing his wealth of knowledge. Schafers’ children Isaac (14 years old), Elisabeth (17) and Glen (19) have always helped out on the farm. “I’ve always encouraged them to get post-secondary education and to have that experience away from the farm,” she says. “They will know when and if they want to come back.”

Importance of Associations
Like Schafers’ father, who served on the Egg Farmers of Alberta (EFA) and Egg Farmers of Canada boards for many years, Schafers also has held association positions. She’s the current EFA Vice Chair and former Chair and has also served on the Pullet Growers of Canada board. “Unless you’re on a board, you don’t realize how important it is,” she says. “At some point, every producer should be on the board. You see how what you do on your own farm relates to what is happening in your own province and nationally, how the provinces need to work together on national issues and also international ones. I really enjoy the board service.”

Schafers has a degree in Agricultural Management, and does both public speaking and blogging on the EFA website. “Ag education is one of the things I love the most,” she says. “It’s many things. I enjoy being part of the conversation and talking to people about their views. I love teaching people about where their food comes from in the schools, at events, on television, and I think it’s very important as an entire industry because interacting means you’re able to develop your industry and reach people. We are well on our way to educating people about food and animal husbandry but we can always do more.”

She adds, “I think egg producers are living in a great time, in a very strong growth mode where eggs are viewed as nutritious, fresh and economical for consumers. Yes, there are challenges, the biggest one being the housing situation, but we will meet those. I am very happy being on the EFA Board, with the current focus on planning and supporting producers to find solutions.

“Producer education and awareness are very important so that producers are prepared for the future and aren’t left scrambling.”

 

 

 

Very few Canadian farmers schedule their farm projects around when the House of Commons is sitting in Ottawa. But that’s the case for New Brunswick egg farmer and Member of Parliament, TJ Harvey.

By the end of June when the House adjourns, TJ will break from his hectic travel schedule to be in his constituency of Tobique-Mactaquac until mid-September. When not fulfilling responsibilities in his home riding this summer, TJ squeezes in time with his wife, Tanya, and their four children – Emma, Madilyn, Sarah and Jack – and juggles farm projects.

TJ and Tanya were accepted as new entrants in 2009, and were established in their newly built layer barn the following year at Sunnyside Farms Ltd. in Glassville, N.B. “We started with an allocation of 1,100 birds from the Egg Farmers of New Brunswick, and have grown to 3,000 birds with additional allocations and increases,” TJ explains.

It was Tanya’s introduction to poultry farming while gathering eggs with her sister at the local Clarks chick hatchery growing up that sparked the interest in her and TJ becoming new entrants. Tanya’s family has a dairy farm in Midland, N.B.  

A second generation farmer, TJ grew up on a seed potato farm that his father started with seven acres in the 1980s. In 2011, when the opportunity presented itself, the family sold out of the cropping enterprise, which then comprised 550 acres of seed potatoes and 900 acres of soybeans, wheat and barley in rotation. Today, TJ and Tanya still live on the family farm, while the family rents out the potato storages and remaining acres of land.

While most N.B. new entrants retrofitted or worked with existing barns, the Harveys built new on a site that hadn’t had livestock in recent years. This meant they had to meet the province’s stringent Livestock Operations Act. Despite the challenges, they “had the opportunity to build a modern barn on a smaller scale,” TJ says.  

The barn was built large enough to house 4,000 birds in a conventional housing system. It’s fully automated except for the gathering, which “allows us a lot of flexibility.” That flexibility has come in handy with TJ’s schedule and Tanya working full time in tech services for McCain Foods Ltd., headquartered in nearby Florenceville, the World’s French Fry Capitol.

An employee, Chris Milheron, that has been with the family since the seed potato growing days has been “invaluable” as a consistent set of hands and eyes working in the layer barn. “We encourage our four kids to go and help in the barn as much as possible, too,” says TJ, who also makes a point to have at least weekends in the barn when life gets extra hectic.

“An alarm system is the best thing we installed,” notes TJ, “whether it’s a power failure, fans or water issue, we know instantly and can have someone there right away.”

The Harveys had plans to expand by adding another tier of layers, but have been stymied by the requirement that future expansions must be either free range or enriched housing. It’s just not in the cards for them so soon after their initial investment to get established.

Interest in Politics
“Deep down, I always knew I wanted to run for politics,” TJ shares. After off-farm stints with crop protection and food ingredient companies, the opportunity presented itself to get involved in the leadership campaign for Justin Trudeau. “I was always engaged and part of the local Liberal association and it just started to snowball from there.”

On October 19, 2015, TJ was elected to represent his constituency in the Federal election. He is one of the few Members of Parliament under 35 years of age. His farm background also means he’s frequently lobbied on agricultural issues.

TJ believes the biggest challenge in agriculture is the disconnect between the farm and consumer. “We need to get a lot better at telling our story.” He encourages farmers to be proactive and create opportunities to show what you do, such as adding skyways or viewing rooms on your farm for visitors. “People just do not understand and we have a duty to share our story.”

For his part, in Ottawa, TJ is chairing an all-party agriculture caucus. He describes it as an opportunity for MPs representing rural areas, or those interested in or wanting to learn about agriculture to meet and leave the partisan aspect at the door. “We just share, talk and debate about what’s best and what’s needed for the agricultural industry, and how we can support that with good policy.”

It’s one of few such caucuses in Government, though TJ sees more being established in future. “It’s really taken off,” he says, noting approximately 40 MPs have joined the all-party agriculture caucus. The only requirements to join are an interest in agricultural issues, and attending the 7 a.m. meetings each month. “We’re working hard to get renewed vigour around agriculture.”

TJ has noticed that, often, one sector of agriculture gets pitted against another. He describes this as unfortunate and unnecessary. “As a country, we need to create agriculture policy that allows all our sectors to flourish, and that includes supply management as a key pillar.” TJ is confident every sector can gel together without creating hardship in another.

“There are much easier ways to make a living than farming. If you didn’t love farming, you wouldn’t do it.” TJ believes our agricultural industry stakeholders can rally around buying Canadian products, food security and food sovereignty – issues that touch all sectors.

Certainly, TJ and Tanya are proof that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for working life in agriculture. “If you’re committed to agriculture and have an open mind, you’ll see opportunities among the challenges.” There’s a shelf-life to politics and TJ won’t rule anything out for the future. “When you stop looking for opportunities, then you’re truly done.”

Sometimes in life we have to wait for things, but they are worth it. In Vernon Froese’s case, it was broiler quota that he waited for, first applying while he was still in high school in 1969. “I knew there were about 30 or 35 people ahead of me at the time,” he remembers. “The list was updated every few years, and you had to confirm your application and interest. I didn’t own any land, but I knew I wanted to farm.” Vernon got married in 1976 to Hilda and for a few years, they raised pullets. In 1981, the Froeses finally received notification they were next in line for chicken quota, and the year after that, the couple bought Hilda’s parents’ farm.

What is now called “the home farm” in the Froese family is a farm that had been started by Hilda’s parents around 1948 as a small dairy on about 400 acres. Hilda and Vernon waited two years to convert the dairy to chicken and hogs. “I grew up on a dairy farm and knew what the workload was, and it was difficult to find quota to expand the dairy,” Vernon says, “so we converted the dairy barn to a hog barn and built a broiler barn the same year.” At that time, Manitoba had what was called a “roaster” quota for bigger male birds, and quota was based on square footage, so the barn Hilda and Vernon built in 1984 was 10,000 square feet. Today, they produce 42,000 kilograms of chicken per cycle at the home farm and 87,000 kilograms on another farm purchased about seven years ago, which already had three chicken barns. The Froeses also have two other farm sites where they raise 12,000 feeder hogs on contract to Maple Leaf.

They also crop 1500 acres (grain corn, soybeans and canola), selling all their grain to the local feed mill where they buy all their feed. “Some of our grain definitely comes back to us,” Vernon says. “They cook the grains and pellet the chicken feed, and the birds seem to do better on the cooked feed.”

Sons Tyler (married to Alishia) looks after fields and equipment, and Ryan (married to Ange) manages the chicken and hog sites. The farm also has one full-time employee. Daughter Trista and her husband Paul have their own farm and daughter Rochelle (married to Brian) is a massage therapist in Medicine Hat. In all, Hilda and Vernon have 16 grandkids. “The oldest is 12, so none of them work on the farm yet,” Vernon says. For his part, he notes “I do the paperwork and pay bills and look after chickens on the home farm. Tyler and Ryan handle day-to-day farm management now, and that’s a big change from ten years ago.”

The Froeses have had some challenges with chick quality over the years, mostly chicks that come from U.S. hatcheries, but Vernon says one local hatchery is planning to raise all its own, and so more Canadian chicks will be available locally. The Froeses manage their flocks carefully and it’s been years since a veterinarian had to visit the farm.

Vernon has served on the Manitoba Chicken Board for ten years. “The price for chicken, food safety and animal care programs have been some issues provincially over that time period, and nationally there was a new allocation agreement settled in the last two years,” he notes. “The government looks favourably on the supply management system and the farmers make it work well. Allocation takes a lot of time and is carefully done.” Vernon notes that Manitoba’s chicken consumption has risen along with growing provincial and national population levels – and due to more consumers preferring chicken as a nutritious and healthy meat. “We went through an expansion phase a few years ago in Manitoba and brought in five new farms provincially last summer,” he says. “Poultry farming is a very stable industry and it has a good future.”

Vernon notes that raising chicken without antibiotics is a big issue now, and there are no easy answers. “We’ve reduced antibiotics and antimicrobial use as an industry,” he says, “but animal welfare is compromised when you raise birds completely without the use of antibiotics. If birds are sick, you need to treat them. We want to make sure the bird does not suffer, so the therapeutic use of antibiotics is needed occasionally. All chicken meat is antibiotic-free because we follow closely the withdrawal time requirement before the chicken is processed. It’s up to us to get the message out that we are raising a safe product and reducing antibiotic use.” Vernon adds that preventative use of antibiotics is changing rapidly, with Class I drugs gone completely and Class II and III being replaced with alternative ionophores or vaccinations as they become available. “Management practices have changed over the years,” he adds, “and farmers are doing an excellent job raising their birds.” Vernon believes chick quality and barn air quality has to be top notch if no antibiotics are being used, and as a chick’s first peck at manure can create health issues, keeping bedding clean is an important issue as well.

Vernon is part of the national team that worked towards updating the Code of Practice for broilers. In its examination of euthanasia, housing, transport, density, temperatures, ammonia and all other aspects of production over the last few years, the team found a few changes were needed, one being that four hours of darkness per 24-hour period will be mandatory. Vernon says most flocks get that already, as research has shown birds do better with some complete rest.

The Froeses are no strangers to new technologies, and in their hog barns, they have an automated feed air intake, fan and alarm system that can be controlled online from anywhere in the world. “I remember at first, there was only one small 12-inch fan in the dairy barn when we bought the first farm,” Vernon remembers. The Froeses also have GPS on all their field equipment (Tyler was a GPS dealer at one point) and Vernon and his sons consider it worthwhile. Ryan finds the GPS handy for precision cropping, especially at night. “I can read a book while I’m harvesting or planting as it’s hands-free, and there’s no overlap and wasted time,” he says. “But you still need to pay attention for things like a big rock or mud holes where you can start spinning.”

The family’s oldest chicken barn is turning 40 this year and everything in it will need to be replaced over the next five years with new and automated systems. But what won’t change on the Froese farm is cooperation and companionship. “It’s a blessing to be able to work with family,” Ryan says. “My father, brother and I all have a third ownership and so you work decisions out together, and whatever challenges you have, you face them together.”

 

Clair Doan wears many hats – family man, banker, turkey farmer, and most recently, Nuffield Scholar.  

Both raised on dairy farms, he and his wife Kathryn love working with people and in the agricultural industry – he as a regional Associate Vice President of Agricultural Banking for National Bank of Canada, and she as Director, Global Business Development and Technology at AgCareers.com.  

Growing up, Clair says he always had chickens and “knew I wanted to invest in the poultry industry.” In 2009, he and Kathryn built their first turkey barn on their 90-acre farm property in Norwich, Ont., raising about 9,000 heavy toms for the further processed market per year.   Turkey was chosen primarily because no minimum quota purchase was required and because of its reputation as a lean protein. “We viewed it as an opportunity for growth,” he says.

In 2012, they doubled their brooding capacity and now produce 18,000 birds per year. In 2014 they purchased another 100 acres of land, and hope to expand their grow-out capacity next year.

Their family has also grown to include three daughters – Camryn (6), Sophia (4) and Charlotte (2).  With both a busy family life and careers, Clair says he and Kathryn are fortunate that their jobs allow them the flexibility required around bird placement, shipping and clean-out dates. The corn, soybeans and wheat grown on the farm are cropped by one of Clair’s brothers, whose farm (along with farms owned by another brother and his father) is located on the same road.  “Our family philosophy is to have small farms, not just one big farm,” Clair says.

Although Clair says he is a “huge supporter of supply management”, he can’t ignore the relatively low return on investment.  Working as a financial adviser to Ontario farmers for the past 12 years, he says he has noticed  “debt levels continue to increase on farms.”

Despite the fact that supply management is stable and he and his wife made the decision to invest in new facilities and quota, Doan says he questions whether or not farmers in Canada are always meeting the needs of consumers. “Supply management may be failing us if we can’t produce what consumers want.”

He feels that farmers sometimes have a tendency to grow complacent, expect the supply management system to always remain the same and protect themselves first.

“We spend a lot of time looking inwards, not outwards.  If we fail to look outside ourselves, we are falling short,” he says.

Several years ago, increasing political pressures and potential trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that may or may not be ratified formed a nagging question in Doan’s mind: How do other countries deal with the loss of regulated markets?

Around the same time, Clair says he and Kathryn were invited to a dinner hosted by fellow Canadian poultry farmers who are also past Nuffield Scholars, where poultry farmers from Australia were also in attendance.  It was at this dinner that Clair began thinking about how the Nuffield Scholarship program could help answer the questions he had and provide an opportunity to learn about agriculture in other countries.

Doan says he loves learning and the opportunity for “self-directed learning was appealing to me.”

The Nuffield Canada Scholarship, part of Nuffield International, provides three Canadian farmers with $15,000 each, allowing them a minimum of 10 weeks of travel for the purpose of studying agriculture, with a mission of fostering agricultural leadership and personal development through international study.

After following other scholars closely for two years, and “getting my wife’s permission,” Clair applied for the scholarship last year and began his Nuffield journey, which will span a total of 18 months.  His topic of study is “Evaluating poultry markets to ensure Canada’s supply management system is efficient and innovative.” Doan says he plans on spending more than 10 weeks travelling the globe, some of which will be self-funded and supported by industry partners “who see the value in what I am doing.”

He began with the mandatory Nuffield Contemporary Scholars Conference, held In Ireland, and then spent three weeks travelling within Ireland, Scotland, England, Holland and Germany.  

He says part of the value of being involved in the Nuffield program is understanding how Europeans view transitions as opportunity, for example, how the Dutch, who only produce cage-free eggs that sell for a low price, see the potential in exports. In Canada, the possibility of low returns makes the industry much more hesitant to go cage-free.

Although he noticed a decline in turkey processing and consumption in the UK and Holland, Germany has invested in market development and processing.  The primary turkey processor there processes 60,000 turkeys and doesn’t sell them as whole birds, which is a contrast to Canada’s market.  Instead, the turkey is sold in portions no bigger than one kilogram in size, making it easier for families and single people to make turkey part of their meal, he says.  He also observed that European customers aren’t as concerned as North Americans about how the turkey is presented, but they ask questions about what other values, such as animal welfare, the turkey they buy comes with. “It’s become more important,” he says.

Clair says the Turkey Farmers of Ontario have a levy for producers that is used for marketing and wants to know if it makes a difference. “It’s a question farmers should be asking,” he says.

Bridging the needs of production and what consumers want, and how farmers can play a role in that is one of the many questions Clair seeks to gain more knowledge about during his Nuffield journey.

“I think now is a good time to be looking at how other systems in the world are adapting to change, and understand that if we need to make changes down the road, how can we do it on our own terms,” he says.

This summer, Clair is travelling with fellow Scholars in India, Qatar, Turkey, Singapore, France and the U.S. and also plans to visit South America in the future.

How will Clair measure whether his Nuffield journey has been a success? “If I can create a level of awareness of how things are being done elsewhere, and that farmers are adaptable and they can change, that’s how I will measure success.”

It’s important to Clair that he communicate what he sees and learns during his travels.  In addition to using social media (Facebook and Twitter), he has also created a blog about his Nuffield journey, which is available at www.clairdoan.com.

 

 

 

April 13, 2016 – Andrew Campbell of Strathroy has been named the 2016 recipient of the Farm & Food Care Ontario Champion Award.

The award was presented at Farm & Food Care’s annual meeting on April 13 by Bruce Christie, a Farm & Food Care board member. Campbell was nominated for the award by the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture, with letters of support provided by Dairy Farmers of Ontario and writers from www.DinnerStartsHere.ca – a consumer-facing blog site populated by young Ontario farmers.

Middlesex Federation of Agriculture spokesperson Lucia Lilbourne describes Campbell as an eloquent individual who willingly takes every opportunity to engage consumers, and one who is very proactive in tackling challenges through a variety of channels. Justin Williams and Scott Snyder, farmers who write for Dinner Starts Here, says Campbell is “a true leader in the social media movement in Canadian agriculture.” They credit his hard work as the reason Dinner Starts Here is an effective consumer outreach initiative.

While active on a number of different media platforms, nominators cite Campbell’s #Farm365 initiative – a twitter campaign where he tweeted one photo a day from his farm – as a crowning achievement. The initiative, which lasted officially throughout 2015, was intended to give Canadians a look at dairy farming in Ontario; it garnered Campbell 17,500 Twitter followers, attracted international support and attention, and continues to be used by farmers and agricultural advocates in countries across the globe.

Campbell is also a dynamic speaker and volunteer, says Ralph Dietrich, chair of the board for Dairy Farmers of Ontario, which also participated in the successful program. Dietrich noted that Campbell has appeared on programs such as CTV and CBC News, CTV Canada AM, The Agenda with Steve Paikin and more. He and his #Farm365 initiative has also been the subject of many news articles, and he continues to act as a spokesperson for his industry in many formats.

Campbell is also an effective communications trainer and facilitator. According to the nominators, he is always willing to help others positively promote Canadian agriculture, whether through communications training, debate facilitation or volunteering his farm for events.

“Andrew is a true leader and an excellent representative for the next generation of farmers,” says Dietrich.The Champion Award has been presented annually, since 1999, to worthy agricultural advocates.

Farm & Food Care Ontario is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to ensure public trust and confidence in food and farming. For more information visit www.farmfoodcareON.org

(L to R) interim BCOYF chair Sara Harker, 2016 BCOYF winners Jewel and Brian Pauls, and incoming BCOYF chair Troy Harker. Photo by David Schmidt

January 14, 2016 - Chilliwack B.C. poultry and egg producers Brian (37) and Jewel (35) Pauls have been named the 2016 B.C. & Yukon Outstanding Young Farmers (BCOYF). 

For the first time in its 36-year history of recognizing outstanding young farmers, the BCOYF program has a second-generation winner. Brian's parents, Frank and Elma Pauls, earned the same award in 1990.

Although Pauls claims to own “only one farm,” with 17,000 broilers and 55,000 caged white and free range brown layers, he also manages the family’s “multiple” egg, broiler and turkey farms in B.C. and Saskatchewan. The holdings include Canada’s first certified humane turkey farm.

“We raise broilers, pullets, layers and turkeys and grow a multitude of crops which use a lot of chicken manure,” the Pauls state. The Pauls holdings may rival some of the mega-farms in the U.S., but their operational model is completely different. “We buy family farms and hire families to live on and manage them,” Pauls says, noting this gives opportunities to people who may not have the capital to own their own farm. It also helps spread the risk of a potentially-devastating avian influenza or other poultry disease outbreak.

The value of that was demonstrated last year as they only had to depopulate one barn during the most recent AI outbreak. “Our birds were not infected,” Pauls stresses, “but our farm was within the restricted zone.”

Pauls has had a life-long interest in farming. When he was still a toddler, his father welded a carseat onto the tractor so Brian could accompany him around the farm. Although he went to study agriculture at the University of B.C. on a scholarship in the mid-1990’s, he jumped at the chance to return home after just a year when his father offered him the opportunity to become the farm manager.

To be eligible for the Outstanding Young Farmer award, farmers must be between 19 and 39 years and derive at least two thirds of their income from farming. Nominees are judged on conservation practices, production history, financial and management practices, and community contributions.

The BCOYF program is sponsored by the B.C. Broiler Hatching Egg Commission, Clearbrook Grain & Milling, Farm Credit Canada and Insure Wealth.

Brian and Jewel Pauls will represent B.C. at the national OYF competition in Niagara Falls, Ont., in November. The national competition is supported by AdFarm, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Annex Business Media, Bayer Crop Science, BDO, CI, Farm Management Canada and John Deere.

 

November 24, 2015 - The late Oliva Lebel was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame at a special awards banquet on November 22, 2015 in conjunction with Canadian Western Agribition. Other 2015 inductees are Dr. Ron DePauw, the Hon. Grant Devine, the late Edgar Ward Jones, and Anthony von Mandl. 

 

Mr. Lebel was an egg farmer from Quebec. He was a visionary, a trailblazer and an architect of Canadian supply management. He left his mark on Quebec and Canadian agriculture with his pioneering spirit and persistence to unite egg producers across Canada.

In 1964, Ovila founded the first federated, province-wide, table-egg producers’ marketing board in Canada – the Quebec egg producers’ federation – and served as its president for 18 years. His efforts to unite provincial egg producers as one group lead to the creation of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency in 1972 – an organization he served a 10-year term as a board member, and that is now known as the Egg Farmers of Canada. The Farm Products Agencies Act owes its existence to Ovila’s vision and persistence – an act that has grown to regulate chicken, turkey and hatching eggs across Canada.

Ovila was a man of action and a man of his word. His vision and dedication created a national organization for egg producers that led the way for other farmer-led commodity groups.

 

 

Mr. Lebel was nominated by Fédération des producteurs d’œufs Québec

 

The Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Association (CAHFA) honours and celebrates Canadians for outstanding contributions to the agriculture and food industry. Portraits are on display in the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame Gallery located at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The CAHFA also publicizes the importance of inductee achievements to Canada. The Association was organized in 1960 and is administered by 12 volunteer Board of Directors located across Canada. www.cahfa.com

 

 

 

 

 

Page 1 of 6

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

Children’s Progressive Safety Day
Thu Jul 06, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Chicken Marketing Summit
Sun Jul 16, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Poultry Science Association AGM
Mon Jul 17, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Northumberland Fisheries Festival Poultry Show
Fri Jul 28, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
CHB/Vermilion Fair Poultry Show
Sat Jul 29, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
PEI Provincial Exhibition Poultry Show
Sun Aug 13, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM