Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick
Tyler Coburn has a friendly, easygoing demeanour that speaks of a down-to-earth approach to life. His conversation is peppered with sayings and maxims that reflect solid values centred on family, work and community.
His family has been farming in Keswick Ridge, about 15 minutes west of Fredericton, NB, for over 200 years now, and he and his brother David Glen are the seventh generation of the family to work the farm.
With their father David, they run an operation that includes 26,000 laying hens, a feed mill, and an extensive apple orchard that annually produces up to 60,000 litres of cider.
Tyler wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I started following my father around every day when I was four years old, and thought to myself that there wasn’t any better life than living on the farm,” he says.
“It’s one of those jobs where you are doing something different every day. I love it, honestly!”
Tyler is all about creating his own opportunities.
“You have to make situations happen,” he says matter-of-factly.
He enjoys, for example, seeing how he can improve yields by trying new things and seeing how it tweaks production.
Tyler says the farm having its own feed mill makes it easier to apply adjustments.
He also believes strongly in participating in industry associations and activities.
“You have to know what’s going on in your industry,” he says. “As someone wise once told me, you have to know where you come from to know where you are going.”
Tyler takes the seven-day-a-week farming lifestyle in stride–probably, he says, because he grew up with it.
But even though he can expect to work Christmas and New Year’s, he says that working the farm with his father and his brother actually gives him quite a lot of flexibility.
For example, he says they take turns minding the operation on weekends or going to sell cider at the farmers’ market in Fredericton on Saturdays so that they all get time off.
“Sharing: That’s what it’s all about,” he says.
Tyler is also involved in his community: He coaches middle school Tier 2 B basketball, and he is part of the local volunteer fire department, which takes up one night a week.
“I look at that as a way of giving back to the community,” he says. The flexibility provided by the family operation extends to his firefighting duties, because he knows there is generally someone to cover for him when he gets called out to a fire.
Tyler would eventually like to expand the family operation, but he’s not sure what form an expansion will take. He expects, however, that they will add something new to their egg production operation.
After all, he says, “you can’t always put all your eggs in one basket!”