Bringing the egg farm to Canadians
Egg farming in Canada sure has changed over the years, and today, many curious Canadians want to know more and more about where their food comes from. These are just some of the reasons why egg farmers across the country are taking steps to help Canadians learn about what they do.
One such example of outreach, created by Manitoba Egg Farmers, is a portable and highly informative hen display that travels around the province. It’s a great way to connect with Canadians, and show them firsthand what modern farming techniques look like. This unique approach bridges the gap between the farm and the table by helping more Canadians experience egg production up close.
We sat down with Brenda Bazylewski, Director, Communications and Public Relations at Manitoba Egg Farmers, and Harley Siemens, a young Manitoban egg farmer and display ambassador, to learn why the mobile hen display is a great way to educate young and old alike about egg farming!
How do people first react when they see the display, and what does it look like?
The display is a single-tiered colony—or enriched laying hen display—that houses 24 brown birds on one side, and another 24 white birds on the other. It’s a replica of an actual working egg farm. The display is so new to people. Egg cartons don’t mention if the product comes from enriched, so it’s not a term that many are familiar with. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to inform people, and introduce this new alternative system of raising birds.
Usually the first thing they do is they try to see what’s going on inside. I’ll always say, “if you have any questions, please ask me.” If they’re really interested in learning about a particular area, I’ll point it out certain things by asking them, “Did you notice this?” And they really want to know about how it all works. I’ll get all sorts of questions: “Do they lay their eggs over here?” or “Where do they sleep?” and everything in between. It’s all curiosity because I’d say 95% of the people have never seen hen housing before. So they really have no knowledge of it, and it’s all new to them.
Is the display a great way for visitors to meet egg farmers?
Definitely. We always wear buttons that say Ask Me, I’m an Egg Farmer, so people know that when they approach me. I’ll let them know that the mobile hen display is like what we have in our barn, and in lots of farms across Canada. The more I talk about things, the more they’ll start asking questions about the industry. The display is a really good conversation kickstarter.
Are people surprised when they learn about how much education and training goes into egg farming in Canada?
They are actually blown away. In our barn, we have a maximus controller which controls pretty much the whole barn. I show them that I can program my entire barn right here from my cell phone. Then I have cameras set up so I show them the inside—it blows their minds how much we’ve changed, and how much we care about it. One great thing is that we’re seeing people who we’ve had a conversation with return to ask more questions, or even bring along others to check it out as well.
We thank Brenda and Harley for sharing their experiences—engaging Canadians in conversations about egg farming is an important and rewarding undertaking. It’s a great way to show people that egg farming in Canada is a progressive industry that’s evolving more and more every day!