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Justin Dunphy: It’s important to know where our food comes from and to support farmers

This is the third of a series of profiles of young egg farmers. They are all young leaders taking part in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program, and will participate in the Canadian Young Farmers’ Forum annual conference in Ottawa February 24-26 under the theme ‘Growing Canada for 150 Years’.

Justin Dunphy

Age 20
Keswick, New Brunswick

Justin Dunphy says his friends—at least those who aren’t from a farming background—are usually surprised when they come to check out the family operation just outside the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton.

The first thing that catches their eye is the scale of the operation. Dunphy’s Poultry Farm has 50,000 laying hens, 60,000 pullets, plus its own feed mill and a grading station.

Then they realize how hard Justin works—particularly if he’s asked them to join him in doing some of his chores, such as cleaning the barns.

There comes a moment when they realize that Dunphy’s, like other egg farms across Canada, produces foods they actually regularly eat—foods they can easily find in local stores.

That reaction fuels the pride Justin feels in the work he’s doing as a young egg farmer.

“I think it’s a great experience for people to know how farms work,” he says. “It’s important to know where our food comes from and to support farmers.”

Justin grew up on the family farm. He figures just being around egg farming all his life made him want to make a career of it.

After high school he did a stint out West as a heavy equipment operator, but he was quick to come home. He works full-time on the farm now alongside his parents and grandfather. Justin’s work involves managing certain aspects of the operation.

For example, he runs the grading operation, which operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That involves setting up before staff arrive and keeping everything in place during the grading.

He also does all the feed mixing, moves the feed to the birds and keeps the barns clean.

The mix of work pleases him. So does the idea of working with his family.

“A lot of people think it’s easy to work with your family,” he says, explaining that actually it’s not: Your family will push you, he says, and “you can never really slack off.”

On the other hand, even at the age of 20 his opinion is respected.

As he looks to the future, he sees a lot of eggs.

“I imagine doing this for my entire life,” he says, adding that he hopes the young farmers program will help him learn more about the industry that he intends to be his career.