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Alberta young farmer balances off-farm career and the family farm

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.

Carline Schuring

Barrhead, Alberta

It’s often said that no two work days are the same for a farmer, and that couldn’t be more true for egg producer Carline Schuring, who balances a career in nursing with work on her family farm near Barrhead, Alberta.

Schuring, who grew up on the farm owned by her parents, Rick and Beatrice Visser, headed off to the University of Alberta to study nursing after high school, but says that she never really left the farm. “I was always coming home and working on weekends and in the summer and helping out with harvest.”

After completing her nursing training, she returned home to Barrhead, and for the past 4 years she has worked part-time on the farm and part-time at Barrhead Healthcare Centre, a rural hospital in northern Alberta where she can be found working in any number of departments including emergency, maternity and general medicine.

Her part-time role at the hospital, and the culture of shift-work that is inherent in the nursing profession, gives Schuring some flexibility in working on the farm to do whatever task needs to be done that day. The Visser farm has 24,000 laying hens and 2,400 acres of crops including wheat, canola and peas, which means that Schuring’s day could include packing eggs before heading off to an afternoon shift, or helping with harvest after coming home from working days. “I didn’t really plan it this way,” she says, “but nursing does work out well with working on the farm.”

Schuring’s husband Daniel also works on the Visser farm, along with her brother Nathaniel. While the Schurings don’t have their future completely mapped out just yet, she sees a future for herself and her husband in the egg industry.

Looking to her future is one of the reasons why Schuring decided to represent Egg Farmers of Alberta in the 2019 cohort of the Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program. The program came highly recommended to her—both her brother and husband have participated.

She sees the value in networking and the relationships that can be formed with her peers in the program from across Canada. “My husband is now best friends with the people he did the program with last year,” she says with a laugh. “They talk to each other all the time.”

She also sees it as a great opportunity to learn more about the industry, gain skills and bring new ideas back to her family farm.