Together with Eric’s mother Susan, Eric and Sandra Dyck operate 4D Farms just a short drive from Winnipeg in Springstein, Manitoba. Four generations ago, the Dyck family grew grain and their farm was also home to pigs and cows. Today they produce wheat, oats, soybean, rye grass for turf, alfalfa for seed production, leafcutter bees and eggs—diversification supported by Canada’s system of supply management.
“One of the great things about Canada is that when you’re eating an egg, you’re eating a local egg,” says Eric. That locality is thanks to supply management—our uniquely Canadian system which ensures that eggs eaten in Canada are made in Canada to world-class standards by local farmers like Eric and Sandra. It is a great system for Canadians who enjoy a consistent supply of fresh, local eggs—and an important system for farmers too.
It’s especially important considering that agriculture is a business with many ups and downs. “The other products we produce are more volatile,” says Eric. “They are very weather-dependent. There are lots of valleys in the market and inputs aren’t getting cheaper. Being diverse allows us to hedge bets against the market.”
“I run a business and I spend a lot of time running numbers,” says Eric. “The steady cheque from the egg barn is very important. That steady income—made possible by supply management—allows me to consistently employ the one full-time employee we have. And that means we’re supporting his family, too.”
A steady income means stability. Stability is simply the best platform for growth, and growth means exciting innovations on the Dyck family farm, like their solar panels. This investment in green energy has helped the Dyck family build a more environmentally sustainable farm. The solar panels save money for the Dycks too, periodically generating surplus power that can then be sold back into the provincial energy system.
The stability also enabled Eric and Sandra to invest in new technology for their egg barn–like their enriched housing system and a tandem feeding system. “It gives the birds exactly the feed they need when they need it,” says Eric about the feeding system, “and reduces the cost of feed as well. Not to mention it reduces feed waste.”
Supply management is a platform for success, and the Dyck family farm is a great example of how supply management empowers growth for Canadian farmers—now and in the future. We look forward to seeing this fourth generation farm thrive for another four generations and beyond!