Success in Agriculture
Dan Lenihan, who introduced the Cobb breed of chickens to Ireland and contributed to its success across the UK and Europe, has died at age 79.

In the 1970s Cobb was one of the U.S. broiler breeds that transformed chicken from luxury to an everyday meal and Dan Lenihan saw this potential when he bought the assets of Cobb Ireland in 1974. This company had been established in the early 1960s to serve the Irish market at a time when there were severe animal health restrictions on imports of poultry.

Cobb Ireland built the hatchery at Straffan, near Dublin, and after purchasing the business Dan Lenihan bought another hatchery at Mullingar, County Westmeath to expand production. This increased from less than 100,000 to more than two million parent stock chicks a year by 2000, delivering throughout Ireland and the UK.

Cobb Ireland began exporting breeding stock to Taiwan and Syria in 1975 and as the Cobb breed has expanded across Europe, Middle East and Africa through the last 40 years, the company has played a significant role in this growth.

During the last 20 years Dan Lenihan’s operation in Ireland has transitioned from a distributor to a contract producer for Cobb Europe.

Ireland's unrivalled history in terms of notifiable diseases has played a key role in Cobb being able to protect supply to customers during the avian influenza issues that occur from time to time in Western Europe. The farms hold a combination of great grandparent and grandparent stock.

“Dan has been a true ambassador for Cobb over the last 40 years,” said Mark Sams, general manager for Cobb Europe. “He was a trusted and respected partner who built up relationships within the industry from the U.S., Africa and as far as Australia. He will be deeply missed by us all.”

Dan Lenihan was born in Newcastle West, County Limerick, and initially studied dairy science at Cork University. After working in a hatchery in Kill, County Kildare, he set up his own poultry business in Newcastle West with the initial Irish franchise for the Warren Brown egg layer and later sold this business to Whittaker's Hatchery in Cork.

He is a former chairman of Bord Glad, the Irish Food Board, and also served as chairman of the Respect fund raising charity that helps people with an intellectual disability. He has also been chairman of the National Poultry Council in Ireland and of the Irish Chick Hatcheries Association.

He is survived by wife Marian, son Daniel and daughter Caroline.
Published in Producers
The Miamys Poultry Company from Tunis, Tunisia will be purchasing Jamesway multi-stage machines for their upcoming hatchery project.

The contract was signed, with some ceremony, at the Canadian Embassy in Tunisia with Canadian Trade Commissioner, Philippe Armengau, in attendance. Jamesway is proud to be adding another country to their list of over 180 international clients.

The large Tunisian company has been involved with breeder, turkey and layer production and will be expanding with this new hatchery.

The decision to use Jamesway was solidified after a successful visit to Poland where the Miamys Team was able to tour the Cedrob Hatchery, the largest hatchery in the world and an enthusiastic Jamesway client.

Along with a complete line of setters and hatchers, the Tunisian operation will also feature some of Jamesway’s Automatic Hatchery equipment and Hatchcom Data Retrieval System.
Published in Companies
Duck is succulent and rich. It’s also something a little different but not too different. What’s more, new, exciting and convenient products are making it more accessible all the time. Indeed, duck products now go far beyond whole roast duck.
Published in Companies
Canada is a leading producer of high-quality, safe agricultural and food products. Agriculture is a major contributor to Canada's economy, and the sector is expected to prosper throughout 2018.

A growing world population, the rise in disposable income in developing nations, and increasing trade in farm products present opportunities to further grow the Canadian agriculture sector, creating more jobs for the middle class.

Canadian exports of agriculture, agri-food, fish and seafood to all countries in 2017 rose to $64.6 billion, a $2 billion increase from 2016 exports.

Canada is the world's fifth highest total exporter (by value) of agricultural and food commodities. Maintaining and enhancing the strength of our exports is vital to achieving the Government of Canada's trade target of growing agriculture and food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada recently released the 2018 Canadian Agricultural Outlook with analysis on the economic state of the agriculture and food sector. The Outlook report provides a forecast of farm income for 2017 and 2018, and looks ahead to longer-term trends that could impact the agriculture sector.

According to the report, Canada's producers are forecast to see record farm income levels in 2017 and near-record levels in 2018. Crop and livestock receipts are both set to increase in 2017 and 2018. Net cash income is forecast to reach a record level in 2017 and remain high in 2018. At the same time, continued growth in asset values is expected to raise average farm net worth to $3.16 million by 2018.

Budget 2018 takes the next steps towards building a gender equal, competitive, sustainable and fair Canada – where science and innovation spur economic growth.

Budget 2018 contains many initiatives that will build on the ambitious growth agenda for agriculture set out in Budget 2017, which included many significant ongoing investments to help our farm families and agri-food processors excel, including the $3 billion federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, $950 million Innovation Supercluster Initiative including the Protein Industries Supercluster, $1.26 billion Strategic Innovation Fund, $70 million for agricultural science, and $2 billion in rural infrastructure.

Together, these investments will build on the Government of Canada's strong agenda for agriculture and help ensure Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector remains a leader in job creation and innovation, and a continued engine of economic growth.

"Strong international demand for Canada's safe, high-quality agricultural products has helped make the sector a key driver of the economy. The Government of Canada is working hard to ensure farmers and the agriculture and food system as a whole, are prepared to meet global needs, helping to strengthen the middle class and keep Canada on the path to prosperity," said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Published in Farm Business
Dalaine Farm
Sector - Broilers
Location - Shakespeare, Ont.
Published in Companies
Celebrating 25 years while pursuing opportunities to raise the bar. This was the focus of a broad contingent of livestock industry and farm animal care community participants who came together for the Livestock Care Conference, March 14-15 in Olds, hosted by Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC).

AFAC marks its 25th anniversary in 2018 as an organization representing producers and others in the farm animal care community. AFAC works with this community to promote responsible farm animal care through various education, extension, research and communication activities. The Livestock Care Conference is AFAC’s signature annual event, offering special sessions and a main speaker agenda on important farm animal care topics.

The 2018 conference was attended by over 200 participants, including a strong presence of 49 students, and was headlined by featured speaker Dr. Temple Grandin, the world-renowned livestock welfare and handling expert. The event also included presentation of AFAC Awards of Distinction. The award for communication went to the East Olds Dairy Farmers group for its Breakfast on the Dairy Farm initiative. The award for leadership went to Lakeland College for its high standards and ongoing commitment to animal welfare.

“We have come a long way over 25 years,” says Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. “Animal welfare and handling have greatly improved. In many cases we have in fact seen huge improvements. We have done better at telling our story but still not enough people know about it. We need to keep communicating with the public about the good things that have been done.”

Welcome messages at the conference celebrated the past while looking toward the future, by featuring Susan Church, the first and longtime manager of AFAC, followed by current AFAC Executive Director Annemarie Pedersen. “I am so proud to have been a part of this progressive and action-based organization,” says Church. “The future is bright as we look forward to another 25 years and beyond for AFAC.”

Progress in farm animal care continues as a pivotal focus for industry progress and outreach, says Pedersen. “As we celebrate 25 years of AFAC, it’s a great time to take stock of where we are today and where we want to go in the future. It’s an exciting time to be in the livestock sector. As a group we have a real opportunity to do something important and special together.”

The conference featured a Meet the Experts session connecting students with mentors, a Humane Handling Workshop, and an inaugural launch and feedback session for the new Livestock Welfare Engagement Project. Topics for the main speaker agenda also included “Pig Production: Changing Times and Changing Ways,” “Can Old School Farming be the Future of Food?” “Proactive Approach in the Poultry Industry,” “Cattle Research Panel: Progress in Beef, Dairy and Transportation,” “A Little Something to Ruminate on,” “Engaging the Public: How to Tell YOUR Story,” and more.

Full details are available on the AFAC website, at www.afac.ab.ca, including conference photos and blog items.
Published in Farm Business
Archer's Poultry Farm Ltd.
Sector - Layer, hatchery
Location - Trenton, Ont.
Published in Companies
Chicken is Canada's favorite protein, according to a recent survey conducted by Leger for Chicken Farmers of Canada. Eighty-four per cent of Canadians purchase fresh chicken on a regular basis, and 90 per cent place chicken among the top three meats they eat most often – consuming more Chicken than beef [72 per cent], pork [52 per cent] or other meats.

Among all respondents, 84 per cent report they have something that they like about chicken. The most common reasons Canadians like chicken products include flavour/taste, the versatility of chicken, and the fact that chicken is a healthy source of protein.

Despite their love of chicken products, the survey also reveals many Canadians don't have the full story when it comes to their knowledge of the Canadian chicken farming industry:
  • Only 43 per cent of respondents believe that Canadian chickens are raised without hormones or steroids, when in fact hormones and steroids have not been used in Canadian chicken production for more than 50 years.
  • On average, respondents who gave an answer, believed only 45 per cent of chicken farms in Canada are family owned and operated, when in reality Canada is home to 2,800 chicken farms and over 90 per cent are family owned and operated.
  • 57 per cent of respondents correctly believe there are animal welfare standards applicable to all chicken farms across Canada. These standards are consistent, mandatory and third-party audited.
  • 34 per cent of Canadians believe chicken is the most sustainable meat, and this checks out: Canadian chicken farms lead in sustainability with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions among all livestock commodities.
  • When you have access to the facts, it's clear: Canadian chicken farms lead the way in sustainability while providing affordable food to Canadians. The industry is a key economic driver, sustaining 87,000 jobs across the country while contributing $6.8 billion to GDP and $2.2 billion in tax revenue to all levels of government.
Survey completed by Leger: An online survey of 1,500 Canadians was completed between Nov 13 and 23, 2017, using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
Published in News
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
The provincial government will invest up to $713 million toward a unique agreement between the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to further discovery and innovation and position Canada as a world leader in agri-food.

Through the renewed OMAFRA-U of G agreement, OMAFRA and U of G will build on world-class agri-food research, including new advances in artificial intelligence, big data analytics and precision agriculture.

“Scientific research is critical to developing innovations that benefit people, animals and the environment,” said U of G president Franco Vaccarino. Agri-food innovation also attracts investment and highly skilled talent, making the economy more robust, creating jobs and sustaining strong communities, he said.

The agreement brings together academia, government and industry to support and enhance Ontario’s agri-food sector through cutting-edge research and innovation.

The commitment to the agreement was renewed for another 10 years today during an event at U of G attended by leaders from industry, government, and academic institutions.

“The partnership has led to breakthrough discoveries and revolutionary advancements during the past two decades. It demonstrates the profound impact that government and universities can have when they work closely together with shared goals,” Vaccarino said.

“This novel partnership has positioned Ontario and Guelph as the epicentre of agricultural research and innovation in Canada, and supported industry development and growth – contributing billions to Ontario’s economy.”

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister Responsible for Small Business, said, “Our government looks forward to continuing to partner with the University of Guelph to ensure Ontario’s agri-food sector is the most innovative and productive in the world, producing the highest quality and safest food for Canada and the world.”

Agri-food is a leading Ontario economic sector, contributing more than $37 billion to the province’s economy and employing more than 800,000 people.

As highlighted by Dominic Barton and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth, Canada can be a global leader in agri-food, with new value-added products, technologies, and solutions, said Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president (research).

He added that one of today’s great global challenges is safely feeding the world’s rising population while protecting the environment.

“It’s a hefty challenge, but U of G, as Canada’s food university, is up to the task. We have a 150-year legacy in agri-food and a reputation for innovation and discovery,” Campbell said.

The OMAFRA-U of G Agreement will provide the platform necessary to create new knowledge, and devise novel technologies and agricultural practices to produce safe, nutritious food while preserving biodiversity, animal welfare, and human health.

U of G is first in Canada and 14th in the world for agricultural science according to the U.S. News & World Report ranking of best global universities for agricultural sciences.

The Ontario Veterinary College is first in Canada, third in North America and sixth worldwide among veterinary colleges in a ranking by Quacquarelli Symonds, which names the world’s best universities in 46 academic subjects.

The University’s $77-million Food from Thought research project, funded by the federal government in 2016, is creating novel tools for producing more and safer food while also protecting the environment.

U of G and OMAFRA established an enhanced agreement in 1997; it was renewed for 10 years in 2008. The new agreement will take effect April 1, 2018.

Under the new agreement, the University receives up to $71.3 million a year to manage research and innovation programs and related facilities, including the Ridgetown Campus, the Agriculture and Food Laboratory program, the Animal Health Laboratory program, and 15 research stations and centres.

The Agreement also supports knowledge mobilization and commercialization.

Examples of innovations stemming from the OMAFRA-U of G Agreement:
  • New detection methods and management systems for diseases such as avian influenza and biocontainment facilities. Researchers study highly hazardous food and animal-to-human pathogens and viruses such as West Nile virus and tuberculosis, and lower-level pathogens, such as coli 0157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria, in a safe and secure environment
  • The world’s first compostable coffee pod, PurPod100, developed by a research team at U of G’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre working with Club Coffee and Competitive Green Technologies
  • Governor General’s Award for Innovation-winning technology to identify and breed cows with better immunity to diseases, reducing antibiotic use and saving livestock producers millions of dollars annually
  • A national research group studying cropping practices that mimic natural ecosystems and improve resiliency to climate change
  • The commercialization of discoveries and innovations via Gryphon’s LAAIR (Leading to the Accelerated Adoption of Innovative Research). Researchers pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts and business managers; winners receive grants to turn ideas and discoveries into a marketable product or technology
  • Research on biocarbon and other unconventional fuels to improve efficiency and sustainability
  • A natural formula, hexanal, to prolong the shelf life of fresh produce
  • Smartphone applications that identify and control field pests
Published in News
A Japanese scientist and his team have cracked open a method to improve the production of carbon-free energy—by using proteins taken from egg white.

Yusuke Yamada, a professor at Osaka City University, said his team has managed to use protein from egg white as a "tool" for producing hydrogen, a powerful source of clean electricity. The new method "brings us closer to our ultimate goal of producing hydrogen from water," Yamada told AFP.

When it reacts with oxygen, hydrogen produces electricity, releasing only water and heat in the process. But hydrogen is currently mass-produced using natural gas or fossil fuels, which themselves result in harmful emissions. It can be produced in labs without fossil fuels and scientists have traditionally done this by creating a special interaction of the molecules in liquid, explained Yamada. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
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
For recent university graduates and soon-to-be graduates who are eager to begin a career that makes a positive difference in the world of agriculture, Alltech’s new program could be a perfect fit.
Published in Companies
"U.S. shift to cage-free eggs causing market disruption.” That was the title of an editorial blog published in July by WATT, publisher of WATT Poultry USA magazine. In it, Terrence O’Keefe, content director of agri-business, notes, “It will continue to be a bumpy transition for the cage-free egg market unless major egg purchasers set and stick to interim goals for cage-free egg purchases.”
Published in Layers
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
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
Page 1 of 6

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine Renew

Most Popular

Latest Events

2018 PHRN Research Day
Mon Jun 04, 2018 @ 9:00AM - 03:30PM
PIC Health Day
Wed Jun 20, 2018

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. To find out more, read our Privacy Policy.