Andrew Vallance literally married the girl next door.
Along with his wife came a change of lifestyle as he decided to join his in-laws’ egg farm operation, Marcel Bourdon Ltd.
Andrew grew up on a dairy farm in Eastern Ontario. He was determined to make his career in agriculture, along with his wife Mélissa they recently took over his family farm and they are now also taking part of his wife’s family farms.
“My wife and her family were heavily invested in the egg sector,” he recalls.
“I’d always been around it, but I was never involved in it.”
When he started taking a closer look at the industry, he was impressed.
“I could see it was a progressive industry, and it was expanding. The population is really demanding more egg production; I could just see there was more potential. And the lifestyle offers more flexibility than dairy.”
So he decided to take the plunge.
Andrew’s decision worked well. Because his family and his wife’s family are neighbours and have known each other for such a long time, they often work together on things like cropping.
“We love what we do, and we have fun,” he says. “We work hard and we play hard.”
But it was not easy moving to a new sector. There was a steep learning curve, and Andrew’s father-in-law became his mentor.
“He showed me everything!” says Andrew. “In the last couple of years I’ve gone from not knowing much about eggs to getting a good hold on things.”
His work includes checking on the barns, overseeing the feed mill and (in season) tending to crops in the field.
“What surprised me was how much there was to learn,” he says. “There’s a lot more to egg farming than you would expect.”
For example, he says while the chores are fairly easy, there’s quite a bit to know about egg production – the science behind the feed, for example.
“I learn something new every day!” he says.
“It was a tough decision for me to make,” he says of his move from dairy to eggs. “I thought long and hard about which direction I wanted to go in. This is not something I took lightly.”
But he has no regrets.