This is the fourth 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’.
Chilliwack, British Columbia
Matt Vane grew up on a farm near Chilliwack, BC, and had plenty of experience with animals, including turkeys, ducks and broilers. But he’d never worked with laying hens.
Still, he had enough confidence in the future of the egg industry to take the plunge. And in 2011, he was a successful applicant to BC’s new entrants program for egg farmers.
Today, Matt runs Cherry Creek Enterprises, a farm that includes 7,500 organic laying hens and a pullet operation.
“The egg world has been good to me,” he says as he reflects on his career choice.
Matt says the farming lifestyle is what enjoys most. “You can work at your own beat when you’re a farmer,” he says. “There’s a big variety of things to do and that’s what I like.”
The small size of Matt’s flock means he can run the egg farm mostly on his own. But that also brings its challenges.
“You’re always worried about growth,” he says. “I want to move forward and I have to make sure it all makes sense. And when you are just starting out, you are doing what you can to save every penny to be able to put it back into the farm.”
Being an organic operation involves a unique set of challenges. For example, the feed Matt uses has to be certified organic. Matt’s birds also have access to free range pasture outdoors.
But he notes that despite challenges, the organic part of the industry is growing and that’s good for the industry.
Overall, Matt says he’s confident in the future of the egg industry. His confidence comes in part from his belief that the supply management system used in Canada is “a very good system.”
Unfortunately, he says, not enough Canadians understand how supply management benefits them.
Overall, would he encourage potential egg farmer to get into the industry? Yes.
“I’d say to build smart and build with room to grow. Know what you are doing and get involved in the industry. It’s good to know where the industry is going. So I would encourage them to do what I’ve done.”