This is the eighth 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 Macdonald Campus of McGill University in 2011 with a degree in agricultural economics, Manjot Sarkaria embarked on a career as an entrepreneur in the hotel industry. But it wasn’t long before he returned to his agricultural roots as an egg producer, establishing Ferme Avicole Rigaud in Sainte-Justine-de-Newton, Quebec in 2017.
“The stability of supply management was a major factor,” he says of his decision to start egg farming. “It’s something that has proven to work well for my family, and it’s something that I had expertise in.”
Manjot was raised on his family’s egg farm near Alma, Quebec, which was started in 1985 by his father, Manjinder, who had immigrated to Canada from India in the 1970s.
To get his own farm up and running, Manjot purchased land near the Ontario-Quebec border and built a new barn featuring an enriched colony housing system, which has since expanded to house 25,000 laying hens. Further expansion, he says, is “always on our minds, and something we will consider when the timing is right.”
Manjot works closely with his brother, Jimmy, who also farms nearby. “We each run our own farm, but he’s much more mechanically inclined than I am,” he says with a laugh, “so he’s pretty handy to have around.” His wife, Ashley, whom he married in 2016, is actively involved in the farm operation, handling much of the paperwork and accounting.
As the farm business has grown, so has Manjot’s family, with the arrival of daughter Himilaya in 2018. He appreciates the flexible nature of egg production, which allows him to balance his career with family life. “My wife and daughter often tag along to help pick eggs,” he says, “and the farm is just such a good environment for my daughter to grow up in.”
Manjot is representing the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec as a participant in the Egg Farmers of Canada national young farmer program, and is looking forward to an opportunity to learn more about the egg industry from others. When he was asked to participate, he says “I immediately said yes. I was very excited about this program after hearing stories from past young farmer participants.”
“I feel inspired and privileged to be part of such a wonderful team of young farmers dedicated to producing eggs.”