This is the third of a series of profiles of young egg farmers. They are all young leaders taking part in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program, and will participate in the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum annual conference in Saskatoon under the theme ‘Our story’.
St. Mary’s, Ontario
For Megan Veldman, an egg producer from near St. Mary’s, Ontario, farming is a family affair. Together with her parents, Glynis and Dan, and twin brother Josh, they produce eggs, raise pullets, grow crops on 2,000 acres and run their own feed mill. Her younger sister Kayla works part-time on the farm, and their brother Ben, who lives and works in downtown Toronto, is still connected to the agriculture sector as a grain trader.
A career in agriculture wasn’t always the plan for Megan. Originally enrolled in a biological science program at the University of Guelph, Megan quickly realized that she wanted to remain true to her rural roots, and she changed her major to agriculture science.
While an undergrad at Guelph, Megan worked at the Arkell Research Station, where she contributed to a number of poultry research projects and studied various types of housing systems for laying hens. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in animal science, and returned home to farm with her family.
As Megan and Josh take on more responsibility on the farm, the family has been actively planning for the future to give each of the kids some autonomy in running their own operations. “We each run our part of the farm separately, but we always sit down and talk before making any big decisions,” says Megan. And, she says, being a woman in what has been a traditionally male-dominated industry isn’t holding her back. “My dad says he didn’t build the farm just for his sons to take over.”
Megan is a passionate advocate and emerging young farm leader. She was recently elected as a councilor for Zone 3 of Egg Farmers of Ontario. She is a graduate of the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program, and she regularly volunteers to talk about egg farming at events such as fairs, the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Winter Fair.
In February of 2018, Megan will embark on her newest endeavour as a participant in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program. She hopes to gain new skills and become more knowledgeable about the egg industry. She looks forward to networking with leaders in the industry and other young farmers from across Canada.