Profiles
At end of February, we had just surpassed what proved to be a big stumbling block and holdup for us...the big pour of the concrete floor.

After letting the concrete floor cure for almost a week, the pads were poured.

We decided to put cement pads under each row of hen housing and these were one-and-a-half inches in depth on the edges and two inches in the middle. This is to make it easier when the barn is cleaned each year so that the water runs away from under the housing. Also, floor drains were put in place on the far end of the barn.

A few days of curing occurred for the pads, and we were eager to get the construction of the Farmer Automatic Enriched Housing started.



We had a couple different work stations—constructing frames, assembling plastic housing doors, and all of the webbing inside the frames was put together.

We have lead man, Dennis and another employee, Josh from Clark Ag Systems.

Nick has been the general contractor for the building of the barn and has good knowledge of the conventional housing that is in our present barn. He has been an asset with his experience. We also have the rest of the family to help when available and some other workers.

The construction of the housing is a huge job and there are many layers to the process. Frames are constructed and assembled with vertical braces that end up being the skeleton of the row. The dividers between each colony are put place and the floor clips and perch holders.

The wires for the cage doors, middle divider, and thicker cage floor support wire are fitted out next. Our nephew Jason was wired for these tasks. We decided to use stainless steel wire instead of the galvanized that was supplied, as Nick found that this was a weak area in our present conventional housing.

The cage floors, white PVC perches, white PVC waterlines, water cups, re-plastic scratch pads, and nesting boxes with curtains are installed a systematic order. I nicknamed our daughter Stephanie, “Scratch Pad Steffy” as she efficiently put in all the red plastic scratch pads in the first and second levels of rows one and two.

Farmerette can proudly say that she put all the perches in for the first and second levels, with some help from daughter Stephanie and Jake, and glued the joints and caps for the ends. I prefer to leave the third and fourth level work to others!

We were able to get lots of work done on the Saturday and Easter Monday with it being a school holiday.

I hung red nest curtains around the next boxes. There are four nest boxes back-to-back as the nest areas have no lights. The hens prefer to lay their eggs in a dark, sheltered area.


Manure ends are of course extremely important as the removal of manure keeps the air quality good for the hens and ourselves, keeps the eggs clean, and provides a good environment for the hens. The Clark guys handle these areas.

Another area that is a little more complicated is the egg elevators that will take the eggs from the egg belts and transfer them to a conveyor that will go into the egg packing room.

There were still a few skids of equipment outside and these would have to be brought in the barn when needed. Also, there is room in the barn for a fourth row of housing, but this is not being done now, and is there for any future growth of the egg business. This area has actually turned out to be very beneficial for storage and assembly of parts before they are installed on the housing.

Construction of parts also occurs as many of these parts come in pieces that need to be put together. For example, the cage doors have a white plastic centre, then a red left and red right hinge that must be hammered in with a mallet. We need approximately 1,800 of these. Our daughters Nicole and Charlotte did many of these. I also put together the 24 egg belt rollers that go at the far end of the barn.

We took black plastic waterline connectors to the house and put a clamp on each end in the evening with the TV to break up the monotony of the job. The warmth of the house made the plastic more pliable when putting the clamps on.

March turned out to be a very busy month. We were relieved and happy to see the construction team finish off a back area beyond the main barn that is manure storage as they were here since November. Yippee!!!

We have made it to Easter with the hen housing well underway and will hop into April being able to see the finish line for this stage of the process.

CLICK HERE  to read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
Published in Blog
Dalaine Farm
Sector - Broilers
Location - Shakespeare, Ont.
Published in Companies
Some perceive the term Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) as formal and rarely used or understood. It does not have to be that way. Simply stated, a VCPR involves a veterinarian and poultry producer developing and maintaining a working relationship.
Published in Ask the Vet
February turned out to begin very cold, more snow and windy. Any work that could be done inside the new barn building was done when temperatures were not frigid. Some days were too cold to get any work done.

Electrical lines for lights got installed on the ceiling and the baffle on the west side. Any work that had to be done on the ceiling or high areas had to be done before the scissor lift got picked up.

The arrangement with the scissor lift was that you pay a weekly rate, and when you have it for three weeks, you get the fourth week free. This is what worked for us.

From February 4 - 6, the insulation got put in the attic. The first day was very mild with the snow melting on the roof causing a steady stream of dripping off the steel roof. This job had two fellows who were experienced in insulating attics completing the work.

We had two overhead doors to be installed – one for the cooler for Burnbrae Farms to do their weekly pick-up of eggs, and the other as a big entrance to the main barn when the birds arrive and then depart after 51 weeks.

Timing for this had to be when the interior was completed so that the doors could be fastened to completed walls and ceiling.

Again, working in a freezing temperature environment had to be avoided.

Both doors got installed February 11 and finishing these up occurred the next weekend.

For the entire month, we were anticipating getting the concrete for the floor poured.


I have never watched the weather forecast so diligently, and part of frustrating February was that we wanted the concrete floor to get poured.

Nick chose a warmer stretch of weather later in the month to start using propane to run the heater to begin thawing the ground.

Preparation work to level the floor for concrete took place on February 23 and continued early in the next week. The weather forecast had sun and mild temperatures for that week.

Once again, loads of stone were brought in, a bobcat brought stone inside, and a roller flattened out the floor to make it level with the help of laser level that was set up on a tripod in the corner of the barn.

February 28 brought a 13-degree day, and the concrete floor was finally poured.

There were a dozen guys doing the pour, running the concrete pumping truck, and spreading and levelling the concrete.

The first concrete truck came by 8:00 A.M. and the last truck load was done by 12-noon. A truck came every half hour. All of this activity brought curious neighbors to sneak a peek at all the action going on.

The next couple days were filled with finishing the concrete with power trowels to give it a smooth finish.

March came in like a lion on the 1st with a snowstorm in Haldimand County, about 15 centimeters of snow, and the first snow day for school kids.... so, we were glad that this big job was done.

Cindy Egg Farmerette

CLICK HEREto read more about Cindy's experience transitioning from a conventional to an enriched layer barn.
Published in Blog
Archer's Poultry Farm Ltd.
Sector - Layer, hatchery
Location - Trenton, Ont.
Published in Companies
As the Canadian egg industry phases out conventional cages, most farmers will decide to install free-run or enriched cage housing. For its part, poultry housing maker Big Dutchman is presently seeing a 50/50 split on its Canadian sales of the two housing types, but sales lead Ron Wardrop says he’s recently seeing a little more interest from producers in enriched cages.
Published in Eggs - Layers
As it marks its 75th year in business, family-owned and operated Sargent Farms is investing $10 million to enhance and retrofit its halal chicken processing facility in Milton.

The upgrade project, scheduled to begin this spring, will ensure the third-generation business will continue to deliver the highest quality, fresh products to a growing base of loyal customers in the retail, food service and restaurant sectors for decades to come.

“Milton has been an important part of our history and our home base for three quarters of a century,” says Bob Sargent, Vice President of Sargent Farms. “We’re committed to making the investments needed to continue growing our operation, provide our customers the best possible products and help make our community a great place to live and work.”

The footprint of Sargent Farms’ processing plant in Milton’s downtown core will remain the same, but all processing equipment inside the facility will be replaced with the latest, state-of-the-art technology. The retrofit will be carried out in stages over three years, primarily during off hours, allowing the plant to continue operating throughout the project.

Sargent Farms, which produces 100% Halal chicken processed by hand, has experienced significant growth over the past decade, driven in part by two retail stores it recently opened in Milton and Mississauga.

The new processing equipment will increase the plant’s efficiency, allowing it to satisfy growing consumer demand by processing more chicken in a shorter amount of time. Greater efficiency will also contribute to the processing plant’s overall profitability, increasing stability for its workforce of almost 300 employees.

Among other benefits, the project will help Sargent Farms continue to enhance its animal care standards and diversify its line of top-quality, local chicken products.

This latest upgrade for the Milton plant follows an investment of approximately $4 million in 2014.

“It’s important to us to continue to build on our long-standing reputation as a progressive and innovative processor. The investments we’ve made in recent years and will continue to make in this project will help us make good on that commitment,” says Kevin Thompson, CEO of Sargent Farms.

In addition to its Milton headquarters and processing operation, Sargent Farms also operates a further processing facility in Mississauga.
Published in News
In 2018, five agricultural leaders, whose influences span more than 150 years, will be inducted into Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame. The late William Beaty, William (Barry) Hill, Harvey Graham, the late Gordon Leitch and the late James Morrison have all been selected by the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association as worthy candidates based on their life-long commitments to Ontario’s agriculture.

The five will be invested at the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony on June 10 at Country Heritage Park in Milton.

To qualify for this prestigious recognition, inductees must have demonstrated visionary leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the advancement of agriculture in Ontario.

“Our Board of Directors had an incredibly difficult selection process this year,” said John Kikkert, President of the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association. “The five inductees for 2018 were chosen from many worthy candidates, each of whom had made significant impacts to Ontario agriculture. These inductees, however, were chosen on the basis of the lasting legacies that they made in their respective fields.”

Inductees for 2018 include William Harvey Beaty (1916-1994). Born in the Halton Region, William Beaty was the founder and chairman of Cold Springs Farm Ltd. an enterprise that he started in 1949 in Thamesford on 100 acres of land. By the time of his passing, the business had grown to include 60 farms and 9,000 acres raising hogs, turkeys, chickens, beef cattle and crops along with a feed mill, grain elevators, processing plant, fertilizer plant and more.

Beaty was involved with many agricultural organizations including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Poultry Council, Poultry Industry Conference and Exhibition, Ontario Egg Producers’ Marketing Board and Ontario Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board among others.

He was responsible for creating thousands of jobs in Ontario and innovating in the fields of product development, swine and poultry genetics and production quality.
Published in News
Third generation poultry farmer Don Sundgaard says when it comes to succession, be patient, encourage off-farm experiences and welcome both formal and informal discussions.
Published in Producers
Do you know a standout up-and-coming producer, vet, researcher, industry member or advocate in the Canadian Poultry industry?

Canadian Poultry magazine’s Who’s Who issue is released every July with the goal of shining a light on stand-out members of the Canadian poultry industry.

The theme for the 2018 Who’s Who issue is up-and-comers and we want your help in finding the best candidates.

Nominate
rising stars today to potentially have them recognized in our Who's Who issue this summer!
Published in Producers
Canadian Poultry Magazine strives to provide the industry with informative and timely information and innovations to help maximize profitability, efficiency and safety. As a reader, we are requesting your help with this goal.

Please lend us five minutes of your time to complete the CP Reader’s Survey. Through this survey our editorial team hopes to gather input from producers across the country in order to develop a more thorough understanding the issues readers want to see addressed by industry experts between our pages.

All responses to this survey are completely confidential. Thank-you in advance for your valuable opinions.

Take the survey now! www.CPSurvey.ca

Take the survey before Feb. 9, 2018 and you will be entered into a draw to an iPad Mini!


Published in Company News
Canadian Poultry will be ringing in the New Year with a makeover. Starting in 2018, you will notice some serious cosmetic changes in our pages, including our cover.

But, it’s not all cosmetic, the January issue of Canadian Poultry will also see the addition of some great new content, such as our Ask the Vet column, a revamped back page that will showcase poultry operations from across Canada, and so much more.

Here’s a sneak peek at our new cover look!
Stay tuned for more.
Published in Companies
Necessity is the mother of invention, as we all know, but Wayne McCauley knows this better than most. He’s nothing less than the inventor and commercializer of a new disruptive poultry-feeding technology.
Published in New Technology
October 24, 2017, Debert, N.S. – Vandals have destroyed a beloved, five-metre-tall sculpture of a bear, a Nova Scotia farmer's annual tradition promoting his family's poultry and pumpkin farms.

Blake Jennings, who has fashioned a bear out of hay every fall for 14 years, said he awoke Tuesday to discover this year's sculpture had been burned overnight.

``A ridiculous amount of people are contacting me to say how much it means to them and their children,'' he said. ``Everybody is so upset, and their kids are upset.''

He posted photos to his Facebook showing the happy-looking teddy bear had been turned into a blackened, smoking ruin.

Jennings' younger sister, who has special needs, is among those devastated by the vandalism.

``My little sister that's her pride and joy. She would name it every year after her favourite stuffed animal,'' he told Global News. `` She was quite upset this morning to find out someone burned it.''

The bear was still sitting in its place in the middle of a field Monday night when he came home from delivering pumpkins at around 9 p.m. By 6 a.m. when he woke up, he could smell smoke.

``My cousin texted me and told me, 'Someone burned your bear,''' he said. ``Because I had smelled smoke, it immediately dawned on me that I had been smelling burning hay.''

Based on the tire tracks in the field, Jennings believes whoever started the fire came on a four-wheeler and attempted to leave quickly.

Jennings has filed a report with police but says he knows there isn't much they can do.

Meanwhile, he said he plans to keep the tradition alive next year.

``I'll just keep putting it up every year, but it sucks how someone could be so disrespectful,'' he said.

``There are a lot of families looking forward to taking their pictures in front of it. I've put a lot of effort in it for many years for the families coming to buy pumpkins. Last year, I left it up all through Christmas and decorated it and everything.''

He was also upset at how dangerous the arson was, saying the ditches around the field are currently filled with dead grass, and conditions have been dry.
Published in Producers
September 28, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has announced that Michael Laliberté has been selected as the incoming executive director, replacing Mike Dungate, who has held the role for over 20 years.

Laliberté will assume the position on October 2nd with Dungate remaining in an advisory capacity until the end of 2017.

With 26 years of experience at CFC, most recently as director of operations, Laliberté brings a wealth of corporate knowledge and experience.

In his most recent role, he managed the finance unit, the human resources and administration unit, and the information systems within the market information and systems unit.

He has been serving as the second in command to the executive director and has provided leadership and strategy on the financial affairs to support the executive management team, the finance committee and the board of directors.

A graduate of the Queen's University Executive Management Program, who also holds a management certificate from the Sprott School of Business, Laliberté will be the chief staff person reporting to the board of directors, and serve the same role with the executive committee and the governance committee.

In addition, he will oversee a 25-member staff complement that promotes the consumption of chicken, develops and audits on-farm food safety, animal care and specialty production programs on 2,800 farms across Canada, and has an active government and public relations program.

"The board of directors undertook a robust, external recruitment process to find the right candidate," chair Benoît Fontaine explained in a press release. "We are pleased that Michael Laliberté will be bringing his vast experience to the role and we look forward to working with him."
Published in Companies
August 30, 2017, Hickson, Ont. - Weeden Environments is a global leader in providing new technology in products & equipment designed for the poultry and livestock industry to lower stress levels while improving performance and productivity. Weeden Environments is headquartered in Hickson, Ont., and the company recently hired more employees to support the growth of operations and expand customer services.

“We continue to experience strong growth as we drive forward with our efforts,” Kevin Weeden, President said. “We’re excited to welcome our latest members, as they will each take on essential roles in strengthening our service.

Bryce Bramhill, initially hired at Weeden Environments as purchasing manager in 2016, is moving into a role as operations manager/inside sales manager. Bryce joined Weeden after running his own business in Waterloo, Ont., for seven years. Combined, he has more than 15 years of agricultural experience both working and living on hog, and poultry operations. Additionally, he worked at a poultry equipment company in Listowel, Ont., for six years. In his role at Weeden Environments, Bryce will manage purchasing, shipping and receiving as well as oversee the internal operations and processes of Weeden Environments. Also, he will work collectively with the technical service support team to ensureall customers are completely satisfied.

Mark Lingard joins Weeden Environments as the service manager. Mark brings a wealth of experience to the Weeden team as he spent numerous years running his own company and working for Tim Horton Children’s Foundation as the property and asset standards manager for seven camps throughout Canada and the U.S. Mark attended post-secondary education in the United Kingdom for physics and completed a surgical instrument course. He then moved to building and renovating homes where he specialized in custom furniture and became a master cabinet maker. Mark’s in-depth knowledge of the agricultural and technical aspects of Weeden Environments, will allow him to maintain Weeden’s high quality customer service through installing, repairing and servicing poultry equipment.

Kevin Thompson will oversee Central and Eastern Ontario and the Niagara region as the territory sales manager for Weeden Environments. Kevin’s farming experience began early as he was raised on a dairy farm and eventually switched to growing broilers 14 years ago. In 2011, his family broiler operation successfully converted their broilers to antibiotic free. Kevin received his Honours Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Guelph and he also spent 4 years gathering data and administering protocols in poultry research at Maple Leaf Foods AgResearch, now Nutreco Canada AgResearch. With Kevin’s lifelong experience in farming combined with his deep educational background, Weeden Environments is thrilled for him to join the team.

For further information on Weeden products, please contact:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 1-800-552-1064, or visit: www.weedenenvironments.com

Published in Company News
For as long as he can remember, Dan Kampen has been in poultry barns. “My mom introduced me to the barns before I was two years old,” the Abbotsford, B.C. turkey and egg farmer recalls.
Published in Producers
Dr. Gregoy Bédécarrats, professor at the University of Guelph, Canada is the 2017 Novus Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. A successful academic career, innovative research and his dedication to encouraging the next generation of poultry scientists make Novus proud to honor Bédécarrats.

Part of Novus’s goal to help cultivate sustainable animal agriculture is the encouragement of young people to succeed in the industry. Each year, Novus honors those who exhibit excellence in research, teaching and their contributions to poultry science at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting.

“Receiving the Novus Teaching award at this year’s PSA meeting is a true honor. From being a student myself to my academic appointment, I had the opportunity to meet exceptional people who helped carve my teaching style, serve as mentors and be inspirational,” said Bédécarrats.

He got his start in poultry science as a master’s student at the University of Rennes, France where he studied the effect of prolactin on incubation behavior in turkey hens. He continued his studies in poultry science pursuing his doctorate at McGill University. After three years of a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School, Bédécarrats joined the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. He points to a great support system and industry partnership when reflecting on his success.

“In particular, this achievement would not have been possible without the help of late Professor John Walton (University of Guelph) who made me understand the value of engagement in undergraduate teaching, and Dr. Donald McQueen Shaver who helped me connect the dots between research, education and the poultry industry. Constant engagement and exchange between these three pillars is key to success and, thanks to the support of Novus International, this is a reality for many students and industry partners,” said Bédécarrats.

In addition to his research pursuits, Bédécarrats is also actively involved in undergraduate teaching and curriculum development, review and improvement. Bédécarrats works with both graduate and undergraduate students and does his best to support their interests and future endeavors. Bédécarrats encourages students, at any level, to attend at least one international science meeting per year, present their work often and get published as much as possible. 

“Dr. B is the best professor ever. He explains content clearly and with a sense of humor that actually helps a lot of us understand the complicated concepts and makes sure you know what’s important for your future work,” one student posted online. 

Most of Bédécarrats’ students have moved on to higher education and many have advanced into significant positions in the livestock industry. Bédécarrats is also the co-creator of the University of Guelph Poultry Club, which is an organization developed to expose students to the poultry studies and promote interactions within the industry.

Bédécarrats is also passionate about improving reproductive efficiency in poultry and finding a better balance between production parameters, health, animal welfare and the environment. One of Dr. Bédécarrats’ biggest accomplishments has been the development of an innovative LED, known as AgriLux™, based on the discovery that different lighting sources had different effects on laying hens and that chickens find the red spectrum more favorable. This product intends to increase egg production in hens using the light without increasing their feed consumption, as a helpful tool for producers.

Bédécarrats has proven to be an innovator in research and teaching and will continue to push himself and his students to make advancements in the field.

“Above all, my utmost gratitude goes to my wife and children who have sacrificed countless hours of family time while I pursue my dream and goals,” said Bédécarrats.
Published in Researchers
As we say goodbye to 2017 this December, Baildon Hutterite Colony in Saskatchewan will begin shipping out the first organic eggs produced in the province. It will be an achievement that is the culmination of much research, discussion and planning.

Baildon Colony was established in 1967 and is located just south of Moose Jaw, Sask. Colony members currently farm about 19,000 acres in a continuous rotation of wheat, barley, canola, lentils, chickpeas, peas and soybeans. “Our land is a little bit rolling, but some of it is very flat as we are near the Regina Plains,” notes layer manager Paul Wipf. “Some of our cereal crops are used for our livestock, as we have a large hog operation, dairy, layers and also some turkeys.” Feed-grade grain goes for that purpose, with additional feed grain purchased as needed, and higher quality grain is sold.

Free-run transition
When the colony started in 1967, members built a barn for 7,000 layers and maintained that number of hens until 1983, when another Hutterite colony was established in the province. At that point, colony members bought a 20,000-layer farm and split the quota in half so, in total, each colony had about 12,000 birds.

“All the hens were housed in conventional cages at the time as this was the going trend,” Wipf explains. “However, in 2009 we decided we needed to build a new pullet barn as our existing one was not big enough to produce all the pullets for our layer operation, and we decided to completely rebuild the layer barns too. The question was what kind of a layer barn do we build, as the growing concern was about whether conventional cages will be good enough in the future.”

To answer this question, Wipf approached Star Egg in Saskatoon to see if they were in need of free-run eggs to fill provincial demand. The company told him there was only one small free-run producer and that, yes, free-run eggs were sometimes in short supply. After a lengthy discussion, all the colony members agreed to pursue the challenge. They also decided that they would convert the old layer barn to a free-run pullet barn, and selected Hellman Poultry for the equipment needed for this and the new layer barn.

Then, in 2016, Star Egg approached Baildon to ask if the colony would be interested in turning half their free-run barn into organic production. There was no commercial organic egg producer in the province and demand was growing.

“Again, after a lengthy discussion, we decided rather than convert half our barn that we would build a completely different barn, as we had some layer quota that we were having to lease out anyway,” Wipf recalls. “This January we started talking with Pro-Cert, an organic certification company out of Saskatoon, to find out what was involved to produce organic eggs and built the organic barn accordingly.”

The colony again went with Hellman, and decided to situate the new organic barn close to the free-run barn. He notes that a lot of the construction of the new organic barn is made out of stainless steel, which he considers a must in free-run production.

The heating system is a hot water delta tube design from Europe, which Wipf believes should be both very efficient and also easy to clean. The ventilation system is Hotraco from Holland, chosen because the colony already has this in the layer barn and it is working very well.

The lighting, however, is different. Baildon went with LED lighting for the organic building because of the higher energy efficiency it provides and also because the LED fixtures are placed on the ceiling. What’s more, chickens sometimes break fixtures that hang down by flying against them.



Barn design and placement aside, the colony also had to answer the question of where the organic layer feed would be sourced. The answer was considered in light of the fact that this spring, Baildon had also decided to replace its existing centralized hammer mill used to grind feed for the hogs, dairy cattle, turkeys and layers.

“It had always served the colony well, but we felt it was time to change over to a disc grinder mill, as they are now more common,” Wipf explains. “The organic regulations would have allowed us to use the new mill for both organic and regular feed, but we would have had to flush the system every time we switched from one type to another, so we decided we will produce organic feed with our old hammer mill. It’s still in good-enough shape, and we’ll be making our organic layer feed with purchased organic grains.”

Baildon will achieve organic certification in January 2018. The colony members had gone into the January meeting with Pro-Cert with plans to have their first organic egg layer pullets arrive in early May. However, Pro-Cert informed them of a new organic regulation that had come into effect in December 2016. The new rule requires that the free-range pasture attached to the organic layer barn be monitored for a year before certification is granted. Wipf says it was a bit disappointing to learn about this new regulation, but there is nothing that can be done to speed things up.

In terms of the biggest challenge facing egg producers today, Wipf names hen housing. “The egg producers here in Canada will have to spend a lot of money in the next 15 years to change from conventional cages to enriched housing,” he notes. “However, the system has been good to us in the last 30 years, so it makes it a lot easier to accept that change.”

Once organic egg production is rolling in 2018, the colony will look at its degree of success and consider expanding and growing organic feed grain in the future.
Published in Producers
When you look at the career accomplishments of fifth-generation farmer Peter Clarke, it’s clear to see that his dedication to agriculture runs deep. “I am passionate about agriculture and I am proud to be a farmer,” Clarke proclaims.

After attending the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in the 1960s, Clarke returned to the family farm in Annapolis Valley, N.S., to work with his father, Harry, who was mainly a potato grower but was also involved in egg and pullet production.

In the late 1970s, Clarke and his father formed a partnership, until 1984, when he and his wife, Janet, took over the farm. They formed a limited company they named Southview Farms, which owns three farms on 750 acres growing corn, winter wheat, barley and soybeans.

Southview Farms is very much a family operation, Janet operates Clarke’s Trucking, which processes and distributes grains for the farm’s flocks.

Their son Jeff is the operations manager of Southview Farms, Clarke’s Trucking, plus another farm he owns separately. His wife, Kelly, is the farm office manager.

Southview Farms has three employees. There’s a full-time feed mill manager, Garry Rafuse. Matthew Tanner manages the layer facility. And Clarke’s nephew, Matt Petrie, is involved in most aspects of the daily operations, including feed distribution and product procurement.

The volume of production has risen greatly at Southview Farms over the last 13 years, from 16,000 layers and 40,000 pullets produced under license annually in 2004 until 2017 with an estimated 32,000 to 33,000 laying hens and “between Jeff and myself in excess of 100,000 pullets,” Clarke estimates.

He puts it all in perspective. “The average size of a family egg farm now in Canada is about 25,000 birds and there are approximately 1,000 egg farmers. These are family farms unlike in the U.S. where you can have flock sizes of several million birds. There are some U.S. operations that have more birds than all of the layers in Canada.”

Industry involvement

Having family members highly involved in the farm business has enabled Clarke to devote more of his time off-farm to industry groups.

Throughout his farming career Clarke has been a regular on numerous industry organization boards, including in the role of director of Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, chairman of ACA Co-operative Ltd., chairman of Agra Point, the provincial consulting body now known as Perennia, director of the Nova Scotia Winter Grains Marketing Board and Atlantic Grains Council as well as Atlantic representative on the Canada Grains Council.

Clarke also served as Nova Scotia’s representative to the Net Income Stabilization Agency and he was a member of the advisory committee of the Atlantic Veterinary College as well.

In 1995, Clarke was appointed to the Egg Farmers of Canada board as the Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia representative. Over the years, he chaired EFC’s budget, research and production management committees. He became first vice-chairman of the EFC in 2006 and chairman in 2011.

In that most senior role, Clarke helped guide the organization towards notable achievements. For example, during the international trade negotiations for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), his lobbying efforts helped secure continued support for supply management from every major Canadian political party.

Clarke is also proud of EFC’s role in helping to create several poultry research chairs. Universities across the country now have experts focused on issues such as egg industry economics, poultry welfare, public policy and sustainability.

The International Egg Foundation, a charitable arm of the International Egg Commission (IEC), was founded. Tasked with increasing egg production and consumption in developing countries, it worked with EFC on Project Canaan’s egg layer operation in Swaziland. In September 2014, it awarded EFC The Crystal Egg Award for outstanding commitment to corporate and social responsibility.

Clarke’s passion and dedication to agriculture has long been recognized. In 1990, the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists presented him with its inaugural Outstanding Farmer Award. In 2007, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia presented him with the Order of Nova Scotia and in 2012 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.

Clarke’s acumen as a rural businessman was also saluted in 2006 with the Kings County Business Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce.

After six years as EFC chairman, Clarke stepped down as a director last March, returning to the family farm and assuming the role as a controller for the IEC. “We review the finances of the IEC on behalf of its membership,” he says.

He believes firmly in the concept of social license. “We are producing a product for the consumers of this country,” he says. “We owe it to the consumers to be as open as possible about the production of that food.” He sees social license as encompassing the issues of animal welfare and care, codes of practice and sharing knowledge of what producers do on the farm. “By being transparent we will not encounter as much challenge to how we operate,” he says.

In 2016, the Canadian egg industry made a decision to transition from conventional cages to alternative housing. By 2026, Clarke believes Canadian egg farmers will be well along into the transition process, which has a deadline of 2036. He cautions, however, “when we do all of that; we have to consider both the health and welfare of our birds as well the people who tend our flocks.”
Published in Producers
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Wed May 02, 2018
Westvet 2018
Tue May 15, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
BC Poultry Symposium
Wed May 16, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
PIC Human Resource Day
Wed May 16, 2018 @ 8:30AM - 03:30PM
PIC Health Day
Wed Jun 20, 2018