Canadian Poultry Magazine

Who’s Who – Quebec – Clément Allard

By Mark Cardwell   

Features Producers

Clément Allard is co-owner of one of the largest broiler hatching egg businesses in Quebec. He has also continued his family’s agricultural political legacy.

Clément Allard is co-owner of one of the largest broiler hatching egg businesses in Quebec. PHOTO CREDIT: Clément Allard

The age-old enigma about what comes first, the chicken or the egg, has never been a mystery for hatching egg producer Clément Allard.

“Without us there is no chicken industry,” says Allard, a fifth-generation member of a prominent family in Quebec’s poultry industry, co-owner of one of the largest broiler hatching egg production businesses in la belle province, and for the past year a substitute board member with the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers (CHEP). “Hatching eggs is where it all starts.”

It’s a lesson Allard learned as a boy growing up on his parents’ hatching egg farm in Saint-Alexis, a rural village in Quebec’s Launadière region, a half-hour drive north of Montreal.


“I started telling people when I was only six that this is what I wanted to do when I grew up,” says Allard, now 43 and co-owner of the 2,240-metre incubation farm with his mom, Martine Mercier. The two run the operation with the help of two fulltime employees and occasionally his girlfriend Mahée and his four daughters – Daphné, Zoé, Océanne and Émy. “I’ve always loved everything about the business, especially the family side. I’m a real father hen,” Allard adds.

Family legacy
He comes honestly by his connections to agriculture in general and the poultry industry in particular. His maternal grandfather, Laurent Mercier, who was one of five brothers who were all broiler and pork producers on the same concession road in Saint-Alexis, was a founding member of the Fédération des producteurs de volailles du Québec. 

He served as president of the newly created provincial poultry producers’ group from 1976 to 1989, and notably spearheaded the creation of an aid program that continues to distribute free quota to help give new producers a helping hand.

For her part, Mercier followed her father into agricultural politics, being involved at the highest levels of hatching egg producer groups at both the provincial and federal levels, including a term as president of CHEP.

She also served as a second- and first-vice president of Quebec’s farmers’ union, the Union des Producteurs Agricole – or UPA – before ending her political career in 2007.

The Mercier clan remains well known in Quebec broiler and turkey circles, with seven of Allard’s uncles and cousins now producing some six million birds a year in and around Saint-Alexis. 

“We all live just a few minutes apart so we get together regularly,” Allard says. “For suppers at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving there are 45 of us around the table.”

Overcoming challenges
However, farming hasn’t always been an easy row to hoe for Allard. Though his family’s hatching egg production business successfully introduced and used innovative methods like the Vencomatic egg collection system – becoming one of the first farms in Quebec to use the robotic technology in the late 1980s – Allard’s world fell apart when his parents separated. 

He continued to live and work alongside his mother throughout high school and even college, when he studied farm management at the nearby Joliette campus of the Cegep de Lanaudière.

Allard became a co-owner in the business in 2002, shortly before a mouse chewed through an electrical wire in the laying barn, causing a short circuit and a fire that destroyed two of farm’s four coops. Thousands of birds that were set to be shipped out that same day at the end of their 42-week production period were killed.

Another fire of unknown origin (though likely the work of a pyromaniac who had set fire to several barns in the region) destroyed the new laying barn in 2006.

“It was tough,” Allard says about the blaze, which happened as he was planning to build a new house for his own young family on La Ferme Mercier et Allard. “But you have to be strong and keep going.”

Enters ag politics
After building a new barn with a conventional system and a new home for his family, Allard decided to follow his family into agricultural politics. 

Allard is a substitute board member with the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers.
PHOTO CREDIT: Clément Allard

“It’s in my blood,” says Allard, who grew up playing hockey, a sport he continues to enjoy, along with golf. “But I thought I could help to improve what I saw as a lack of information about programs for young producers. And I was looking for a new challenge as well.”

He was first elected president of the young farmers syndicate in the Lanaudière region in 2008. After serving a four-year term, he was elected second vice president of the provincial body.

Allard was also elected to the local Achigan-Montcalm branch of the UPA, and later became an executive member of the regional chapter.

In 2014, he was appointed a board member of the provincial hatching egg producers body – the Producteurs d’oeufs d’incubation du Québec.

After serving four years as a municipal councillor in Saint-Alexis – during which he renovated two old barns on his farm into modern laying facilities – Allard failed to win the mayor’s seat in the 2021 Quebec municipal elections. 

That loss failed to dampen his enthusiasm, however, for involvement in either the local community or farming circles.

“Saint-Alexis is my home – I’ve spent my entire life here,” Allard says. “My family and I love to be involved with local activities like benefit suppers for the church or groups like the Optimists’ Club. We give lots of time to help out, whether it’s setting up tables and chairs or cleaning up after.”

Politically, Allard says he’s happy – for now at least – with his current role as substitute with CHEP. And he is also excited by the strong interest that his 15-year-old daughter Océanne is showing in the family business.

“She’s a lot like me,” Allard says. “Despite her young age, she says this is what she’d like to do. So, we’ve started involving her in conversations about the business and she comes with me to presentations and meetings that deal with egg production. I don’t want to push her. But it’s nice to think that another generation of egg producers in our family may be on the way.” 

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