Eric and Sandra Dyck
Ages: 34 and 35
Eric and Sandra Dyck take a lot of pride not only in the eggs they produce, but also in the way they run their farm.
And they feel good about building a business that their children might–one day–take over.
“We take a lot of pride in our business,” says Sandra. “And that pride makes me want my children to be able to be able to work in this business too.”
The Dycks are multi-commodity farmers in Springstein, Manitoba, about 20 kilometres west of Winnipeg.
Eric explains that his family began working the land in the 1920s. It was a mixed farm with cattle, hogs and grain.
In the 1960s, his grandfather decided to refocus operations and met with his children to ask them to pick between hogs and laying hens.
They picked hens.
“My dad had two sisters and they thought the girls would be more willing to help in a chicken barn,” says Eric.
Today, the farm produces grains and oil seeds and forage seeds in addition to eggs. They also run a pollinating business with bees.
The operation is jointly run by Eric, Sandra and Eric’s mother Susan. Eric is the principal manager, Susan does the books and Sandra works on the farm part-time while taking care of the couple’s three children ages 3, 5 and 7.
Sandra says one of the best things about egg production is the stability provided by the supply management system.
“Our other operations depend on weather,” she says. “The egg operation gives us financial security. Plus it gives us a daily routine we have come to appreciate and enjoy.”
Eric, too, appreciates the routine of checking on the hens and collecting the eggs.
“I’ve been doing it all my life,” he says, though he admits that he hasn’t always enjoyed it as much as he does now.
The Dycks feel confident about the future of egg farming and they do their best to keep up with trends.
“I think the future of the operation will really depend on the marketplace,” says Eric, adding that over the last few years consumers have become very interested in where their food comes from and the standards that are in place. To keep abreast of trends and issues, they talk to other producers and they listen to the public.
“When you go anywhere in public and in the conversation you say you are a farmer, people are not afraid to share their opinions!” says Eric.
“We love those conversations,” adds Sandra, adding that it allows them to educate the public about where their food comes from–education she says is sorely needed.
“We want to make sure people know that the health and welfare of our chickens really matters to us,” says Eric.
“The welfare of animals in number one,” adds Sandra. “Without them, we have no operation.”