La Présentation, Québec
At first glance, it might seem that David Lefebvre’s training has little to do with egg production: He has a degree in engineering, and works for an engineering firm.
But appearances can be deceiving. He says his degree, and his current job, are helping him prepare to one day take over his family’s egg farm.
Though David grew up on a farm, he wasn’t sure he wanted to have a career in agriculture.
“I felt like exploring other things, only to discover that agriculture was my passion,” he says.
But he’s coming at it on his own terms.
David started out studying environmental engineering for agriculture at Quebec City’s Laval University, but graduated with a degree in water management.
He’s been hired by Fusion Expert Conseil, an engineering consulting firm in Drummondville, Québec, that specializes in the construction of agricultural buildings. He works there as junior engineer, and his work is supervised until he gains full professional status.
“The experience that I get in the office is broad, so I get a lot of experience in agriculture in general,” he says, explaining that his firm take on construction projects for the dairy, swine and poultry industries.
“In addition, I’ve been mandated within the office to take on responsibility for hatchery projects, so that lets me gain extra knowledge in that sector,” he says.
And because he says those hatchery projects are all across Quebec, he adds that he’s meeting people in the poultry industry all across the province, and building up a network that will be useful later on.
He chose engineering because he was interested in it, and because he saw it as an area of expertise that was missing from the family’s egg operation.
On an egg farm there are plenty of technical things you have to understand, he says. This includes things like building structures or water and waste water management. In addition, he says there’s the whole environmental side, like how to manage manure and understand and apply environmental regulations.
He says the knowledge base he’s building up will allow him to make more informed decisions about the family operation when he becomes involved in it.
Meanwhile, he continues to study to build up his level of knowledge about agriculture and egg production.
To understand what the public wants and what people’s concerns are, David has become involved with the Quebec Federation of Egg Producers. He has volunteered for the federation’s an egg interpretation centre, an interactive display that travels to fairs and schools to explain egg production.
He’s also studying for a certificate in livestock production.
David admits he has an emotional attachment to the family business, which he one day hopes to take over with his sister.
“We will be the seventh generation on the farm,” he says. “So there’s a long story behind it all. It’s very stimulating for me to see the passion in my grandfather’s eyes, and I want to continue the adventure.”