Husband and wife team Eric and Sandra Dyck are egg farmers in Springstein, Manitoba. Together with Eric’s mother Susan they manage a sprawling farm featuring eggs, crops, bees, goats, solar panels—even a miniature horse. Eric and Sandra’s journey together began—appropriately—when they met in a barn.
“We were both wranglers at a local camp,” says Eric. “We got married two years later!” Sixteen years on, Eric and Sandra have built a legacy together as partners in life and business.
Sandra started her career in healthcare, but after Eric’s dad passed away in 2013 she transitioned to working full-time on the farm. Eric is the lifelong farmer of the pair. His family memories take place on the farm. A younger Eric ran his own side business on the farm and helped drive the combine. Eric’s grandpa was an inspiration to him—cool as a cucumber, bubbling with charisma and an overflowing sense of humour. This big personality was a man of modest means. “They grew up with nothing,” says Eric describing his grandparents, who slowly grew their farm from the ground up and built their egg barn in the late 1960’s.
Eric’s grandparents became egg farmers just a few years before the introduction of supply management. Eric remembers hearing stories about those pre-supply management years. “They were pretty tough,” says Eric. Today, under supply management, the Dyck family produces fresh, local eggs for Canadian consumers—while earning a fair return for their work. The egg barn provides a helpful source of stability and certainty for their farm.
When Eric and Sandra talk about their farm, two words come up often: freedom and family. The morning commute is just a few steps from their front porch. “Farming feels like home,” says Sandra, and they love the time they spend together and the way every family member chips in. They farm with Eric’s mother Susan, who lives right next door. One of the kids loves working with livestock, and another has a keen interest in grain. Working together helps the Dyck family collectively succeed.
“Diversity is a strength on the farm,” says Sandra. The parts each family member plays in turn play on their strengths. Eric says Sandra’s greatest strength is her vision for people and their needs. Sandra says Eric’s greatest strength is his passion and drive. Everyone brings a shared passion for constant learning. “We’re always striving to be better,” says Eric.
Growing and learning are a passion for the Dyck children as well, who aspire to manage the farm themselves one day. It goes to show that Canadian egg farming is truly a family affair—one of those rare and precious spaces where the work you love is intertwined with the people you love most.