This is the sixth 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.
Chilliwack, British Columbia
Richard Boer first started producing eggs in 2017, when his Chilliwack-area farm operation expanded to include 7,000 laying hens. “The opportunity to purchase egg quota became available. And after crunching some numbers, we decided to go for it,” he says.
Two years later, Brightside Poultry’s success has led to a planned expansion—a new barn is being built that will have the capacity to double production when it is operational in mid-2019.
Boer farms with his wife, Jacqueline, who is the third generation living and working on her family dairy farm. They farm in partnership with Jacqueline’s father and 3 brothers. In addition to the laying hens, they raise specialty broiler chickens, milk cows and grow corn and grass silage on their farm in Chilliwack. They also own a ranch about 2 hours north in Merritt, BC where they raise their herd of cattle in partnership with another Chilliwack dairy family.
The farm has been welcoming tour groups and school children for many years to help educate consumers about how their food is produced. “It’s a chance for us to explain how we do things,” he says, “including how their eggs are produced.”
Boer says that diversifying their dairy operation to include poultry has come with a huge learning curve. A self-described “born and raised” dairy farmer, he still clearly remembers the first time he held a chicken. The support of the people in the egg industry, he says, has been an important factor in his success. “We spent a lot of time talking to other farmers, equipment suppliers and industry leaders, and everyone has been willing to give advice.”
Boer is representing BC as a participant in the 2019 Egg Farmers of Canada national young farmer program. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to meet and network with others in the industry, and learning all that he can from his peers.
“I wasn’t born and raised on an egg farm,” he says. “The program is a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the egg industry.”