Welcome back to our regular Q&A feature, Ask an egg farmer!
In this edition, we speak with Matt Vane, an egg farmer based in Chilliwack, BC. Matt became an egg farmer in 2011 thanks to the British Columbia Egg Marketing Board New Producer Program—a program designed to make it easier for new egg farmers to get a start in the industry.
Today, Matt runs Cherry Creek Enterprises with more than 7,500 egg-laying hens. Matt is incredibly proud to be an egg farmer, and because of his hard work and dedication, Canadians can all enjoy nutritious eggs.
How did you get your start in egg farming?
I always wanted to be a farmer—I grew up on a broiler farm, so farming was always an option for sure. So when the new entrant program came up, I thought that would be a great opportunity.
What about egg farming appealed to you?
The egg itself is kind of neat, but farming in general—the variety of work, the diversity of challenges and the opportunities you get… it’s just fun being a farmer. I’ve always been involved with farming, whether it was for my parents or for someone else. I’ve always enjoyed it.
I guess in a way, the egg industry chose me. I was willing to put in the effort to do any sort of farming I could on my own, and through the new entrant program I was lucky enough to get the experience.
How do new entrant programs help prepare future egg farmers?
Great question! Most provincial egg farming boards have programs in place, and in British Columbia I had opportunities to talk with local farmers who were totally willing to show me all about their work—I could ask how do you do this? and what’s the reason for that?
I was introduced to a great group of local farmers that I could call up any time. They were the most helpful part of my learning curve.
What makes you proud to be a Canadian egg farmer?
I think the egg is the world’s perfect food—it’s a wonderful little nugget of nutrients and protein, and I’m proud to be a part of the supply chain that provides the country with eggs. It’s neat that eggs are affordable enough that all Canadians can access them, and I think it’s a wonderful product to produce.
You visited Project Canaan this summer—what was that experience like for you? What did you learn?
I had the opportunity to visit Project Canaan, the egg farm operated by Heart for Africa (Canada). I got to tag along with my brother, and it was a really neat experience to see and observe everything that was happening. With the local community, we performed some deliveries to the homesteads, which was quite the eye-opener.
Project Canaan was a wonderful experience—the culture and work is very different than ours. They’re dealing with drought and poverty, but after chatting with the locals there, they have some good things going on. If I had the chance, I would one-hundred per cent go back.
What advice would you give someone looking to become an egg farmer?
I would definitely encourage them to get into the egg farming business. It’s lots of fun, there are so many good people—egg farmers are definitely willing to share the things they’ve seen and done rather than competing against one another. It’s much more of a ‘let’s learn together’ type of process.
Thanks to Matt for sharing his story with us—keep on the lookout for the next installment of Ask an egg farmer soon!