Port Williams, Nova Scotia
David Newcombe is the 10th generation of his family to work on the family farm in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. He’s proud of the fact his ancestors have been on this land since the 1760s. And he’s looking forward to carrying on the tradition when he eventually takes over the operation from his father and his uncle.
“All the generations before me did a good job of setting up the farm,” he says, adding that his situation is made even better by the fact that the eggs and other things the family produces all fall under supply management arrangements.
“All this puts me in a good position for me to continue the operation,” he explains.
Right now, the farm is run jointly by his father and his uncle, who share ownership.
David is learning the ropes as a full-time employee. He does “a bit of everything,” as he puts, it to learn about the operation as a whole. When his father and his uncle feel the time is right, he’ll move into a management position.
David says he, his uncle and his father have always gotten on well together.
“I enjoy working with them,” he says. “I have got to give my dad credit. He knows how to balance the father-boss relationship. He knows when to tell me not to worry, that everything will be OK, and when to tell me I can do better.”
As a 23-year-old, David says he has little trouble balancing the demands of his job with his social life–except perhaps when things get busy between April and July.
He plays hockey and soccer, and has been involved with the local volunteer firefighters since last year.
“During the day, if we get called out for a few hours my dad has no problem picking up the work on the farm,” he adds.
When he looks to the future–his own future–David sees a few challenges, even if he knows he’s starting from a strong position.
He wonders, for example, what effect growing trends will have on agriculture and egg farming in Canada, and what that could mean to the cost of doing business.
In the meantime, he enjoys the work. He likes that he’s doing something different every day, and that he gets to spend a lot of time outdoors, and with animals.
He likes being able to work from home.
And he’s motivated by the fact he’s working for an operation that will eventually be his.
“I was at one point doing jobs for other people, and I used to feel time was just dragging on,” he says. “Then I would come onto the farm and work three times as hard, and the time would go by twice as fast. You are busy, but you feel like you are doing something valuable.
“I don’t see it as a job; I see it as a lifestyle. It’s bigger than just a job. I’m really passionate about this. I see it as, ‘It’s going to be mine someday,’ so that pushes me to work. I want to see the farm be successful long into the future.”