This is the seventh 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.
Charles-Éric Bouchard, an egg farmer from Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce, Quebec, operates Ferme Gédésoeufs inc. together with his father, Paulin Bouchard. The farm, established in 2016, houses 26,000 hens and produces free run eggs.
Ferme Gédésoeufs is an expansion of Ferme Paulin Bouchard, owned and operated by Charles-Éric’s family since 1987. The farm expansion, along with 1,000 acres of crop land where they grow corn and soybeans used in the feed for their hens and a successful woodlot, is an opportunity to involve the next generation in the family farm. And Charles-Éric, a recent graduate in agriculture economics from Université Laval, was happy to rise to the challenge.
He says that his educational training “enabled me to broaden my vision of agriculture and to cultivate work tools related to my new on-farm duties,” but admits that—like many farm kids—he got his start at a young age “by working full time in the fields in the summer.” Though his farm experience has mainly been in crop production, more recently he’s taken a greater interest in, and responsibility for, the egg production side of the farm.
“In working with the Gédésoeufs flock, my knowledge is really expanding and diversifying. My vision of production has changed a lot and enabled me to create a job I love.”
“Being fresh out of school, I like having the freedom to experiment, compare, analyze and push the boundaries of what has been done before,” he says. “For now, I want to put the best of myself into egg production and maximize the farms’ efficiency.”
Connecting with consumers is also a passion for Charles-Éric, who has been an ambassador for the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec (FPOQ) for the past 3 years, working at public events to share his knowledge about agriculture and egg production. “I really like having the opportunity to better explain my work and that of my colleagues,” he says.
Charles-Éric, who is representing FPOQ in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program, sees his participation as an opportunity “gain a network of contacts, a better understanding of current issues in the sector and contact with the people who defend our industry.” Skills that will serve him well as he grows as a leader and advocate for egg farming.