When you sit down to enjoy nutritious Canadian eggs, do you ever wonder just how many people are involved in getting them from the farm to your table? The Canadian egg industry actually supports a range of careers that you might not even know about yet!
From egg graders to veterinarians, you may be surprised at the varied and rewarding jobs that help keep Canada’s egg industry thriving.
Talk about quality control! This job requires focus and attention to detail.
Specifically, a grader’s career will involve sorting and classifying eggs by size, colour, condition and weight. There are three main things a grader is looking for to ensure eggs meet the Grade A standard: the condition of the shell, the position of the yolk and the size of the air cell inside the shell.
Grading stations are registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and while some of this work is done by hand, graders work with innovative technology and adapt as new equipment becomes available.
When you consider just how popular eggs are across Canada, it’s no wonder that egg production in our country requires the examination of data to better understand and estimate buying trends, production and forecasts.
That’s where an agricultural economist comes in.
An agricultural economist studies and analyzes supply, demand, production cost, prices and consumption trends. Oftentimes, an agricultural economist will actually focus in on a specific area of expertise, such as livestock and crop production systems, policies, trade, food and farm economics. From an office or from the farm, this role requires identifying issues and analyzing relationships, with a practical understanding of the linkages between information in the agri-food industry.
Some veterinarians specialize in poultry, and work with farmers across the country to ensure their hens are healthy. Poultry vets perform routine examinations, observe the behavior of a flock, work to prevent and treat illness, administer vaccinations, observe egg quality and recommend nutritional regimes. Every day is a little bit different, and poultry vets are passionate about animal welfare. For more on a day in the life of a vet, read up on Mike the Chicken Vet.
A poultry nutritionist works to ensure hens are provided with a balance of nutrients designed to ensure proper health, growth and egg production. This includes working with egg farmers to ensure hens receive a balanced diet consisting of grains, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals.
In addition to their regular duties on the farm, a nutritionist may also work in a variety of different environments such as a laboratory, an office, or with feed manufacturers. They may also pursue work within a research or teaching capacity or even in conjunction with veterinarians and other poultry professionals.
An inspector’s role involves conducting on-farm inspections where they monitor hen inventories and promote the highest standards for food safety and animal care.
This role requires strong communication and interpersonal skills, as inspectors interact with many different people on a daily basis. Inspectors also tend to have a keen eye, strong attention to detail and are well versed on the National Animal Care Program and Start Clean-Stay Clean® program.
With Canadian eggs enjoying steady sales growth for the last decade, it’s no small wonder that the industry is able to support so many unique and varied careers—who knows what kind of exciting opportunities the future of egg farming will bring!