This is the second 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.
Candace Phoenix, who works on her family farm near Sunderland, Ontario, grew up collecting eggs alongside her parents, Daryl and Sherry, and her two sisters.
After graduating from Durham College in 2008 where she studied business and human resources, she worked at several off-farm jobs before returning to work part-time on the farm in 2015.
Now a parent herself with 2 young sons—Denver, age 4, and newborn baby named Rowen—Phoenix appreciates the farm-family lifestyle that allows her to stay home with her children while working in the industry that she knows and loves.
The Phoenix family produces eggs on the farm that was first established in 1984, starting with 2,200 units of quota purchased from Phoenix’s grandparents. The egg side of the business has grown significantly over the years, and they also grow corn, wheat and soybeans. More recently, the farm has expanded with the addition of a broiler barn. Everyone in the family is involved in some way—Phoenix’s fiancé, Justin works part-time on the farm and her sisters Kylie and Stephanie are involved as well.
“It’s a good environment to raise kids,” says Phoenix. She cites the flexibility of setting her own hours and the ability to involve her children as important factors in her decision to return to the family farm. And the next generation is getting involved in the action—“Denver loves to help pack a couple of trays of eggs before he goes off and plays while I work,” she says.
Phoenix is also getting more involved in the egg industry. She enjoys opportunities to work with Egg Farmers of Ontario in their efforts to promote the industry, and stresses the importance of educating the public about where their food comes from. “A lot of people have never been on a farm, and we want them to know how we care for the birds.”
It’s at an Egg Farmers of Ontario zone meeting where she first heard about Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program, where past participants spoke about their experience. She’s excited to take part in the 2019 program and the opportunity to meet and learn from other young farmers from across Canada.
“I can learn about the day-to-day stuff by working on the farm,” she says, “but this program will help me learn things that I can bring back to the farm to help our business grow and succeed.”