This is the first 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.
After graduating from the University of Guelph-Humber in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration and a diploma in small business management, Anneke Stickney embarked on a career in the banking industry. But when the opportunity arose to purchase her family farm, Stickney and her husband Corey jumped at the chance.
“We had a desire to farm rather than work in agribusiness,” says Stickney. “We both had grown up on a farm and wanted that lifestyle for our family.”
The egg farm, located near Elora, Ontario was started by Stickney’s parents John and Anne Donkers in the 1980s after the couple emigrated to Canada from Holland. In 2012, Anneke and Corey purchased the farm, and have since expanded to include broiler chicken production in addition to 50,000 laying hens.
As their farm expanded, so did their family, with the arrival of 4 boys: Alexander, 5; Blake, 4; Colton, 2; and their infant son Dawson. Stickney appreciates that farming allows her to be home with her children, while also involving them in the family business. “They love going to the farm, they’re always helping,” she says.
Stickney’s passion for the egg industry is reflected in her commitment to Egg Farmers of Ontario, where she has been a Zone 7 councillor for the past 6 years. She also volunteers to coordinate the Zone’s hard-boiled egg donation program—the eggs are distributed to sixteen local school nutrition programs. The program delivers healthy school snacks and also provides an opportunity to share with students the facts about how their food is produced.
Beyond her local community, Stickney is also an active member of the Ag Women’s Network (AWN), a virtual community of women in the agriculture industry. She currently serves on the board of directors as treasurer, a position she has held for the past 3 years. “The AWN serves an important role,” she says, “to provide support and networking opportunities for women in the agriculture industry, and to promote the contributions of farm women.”
Stickney is taking on a new challenge, as a participant in the 2019 national young farmer program offered by Egg Farmers of Canada. She learned about the program from past participants, and sees great value in taking part in this leadership and skills development program, which she believes will help her grow her skills and knowledge, and open doors for future opportunities to give back to the industry that she’s proud to be a part of.