This is the third 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.
For Arend Haverkamp, the path to becoming an egg farmer took him across Canada and to the other side of the world before returning home to work on his family’s poultry and crop farm near Listowel, Ontario.
Arend farms with his parents, Hugh and Karen Haverkamp, and together with his brother Eric they produce eggs, raise broiler chickens and broiler breeding stock, and grow crops including corn, soy and wheat. His older brother, Matthew, works for the local municipality but helps out on the farm during the cropping season.
Arend says he always knew he wanted to be a farmer, and after attending Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario in a construction techniques program, he headed west to attend Olds College in Alberta, where he graduated with a diploma in Agricultural Management in 2012. He stayed out west for a while, working various jobs—among them as an agronomist, where he says, “I learned I didn’t like working in an office.” Other experiences included working on a family dairy farm in Alberta, on a Saskatchewan cattle ranch and doing snow removal for the Edmonton airport.
In 2015, he embarked on a year-long trip to Australia where he worked his way across the continent as a grain harvester, picking mangoes, harvesting almonds, mustering cattle and seeding grain crops. After returning to Canada, he returned to the family farm before heading west again, this time to work in a poultry research facility at the University of Saskatchewan.
Arend says that he learned a lot from his extensive travels and his experiences working in such varied agricultural industries. One of the biggest lessons, he says, was to “appreciate the stability of the poultry industry that we have here in Canada,” which was a factor in his decision to return home in 2018 to work full-time on his family farm. “It was always in the back of my mind when I was out and about. I came to a point where I thought I should try this, and decide if it was really the thing for me.” Arend married his wife Paige, who works off-farm, shortly after returning home.
Arend is participating in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program in 2020, which he says will help him gain a better understanding of the egg industry and how the business works. It’s also an opportunity, he says, to learn how to better promote the egg industry to consumers.
“It’s important for us, as producers, to inform consumers about what farmers really do, to break down those barriers,” he says.