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Our young farmer program: Meet the 2022 leaders

Each year, Egg Farmers of Canada is proud to welcome the next generation of egg sector leaders to our national young farmer program. Through this innovative program, young egg farmers build leadership skills, expand knowledge and share best practices by connecting with industry leaders and other young egg farmers from across Canada.      

Read on to meet the leaders in the 2022 national young farmer program. Discover how they first started in the industry, why they are passionate about egg farming and what they are looking to learn as part of their involvement in the program.

Jacob Pelissero, West Lincoln, Ontario

Jacob is a fourth generation egg farmer and is continuing his family’s half-century legacy of farming in the Niagara Region. Jacob always knew he would have a career in agriculture and completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture Business co-op program at the University of Guelph. After completing school, he got his start in the industry as a producer representative at Gray Ridge Egg Farms before returning to work full-time on his family farm in 2016.

Jacob sees the young farmer program as an opportunity to build a network of other young egg producers from across the country and learn more about the industry. “Just because you’re done school,” he says, “doesn’t mean you’re done learning.”

Brett Graham, St. Marys, Ontario

Brett is a third generation egg farmer who farms with his parents and his wife Jessica. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph, and since returning to the farm in 2006 has made many updates to the farm’s facilities including the construction of a new barn featuring an enriched colony housing system.      

Brett wants to learn more about the industry and build leadership skills, which is why he’s participating in the national young farmer program. “I know what happens in a pullet barn and in a layer barn,” he says, “but past that, I’d like to learn more about…what happens at the board table–just get a better understanding of the whole system.”

Juschka Clarke, Yarrow, British Columbia

What started as a hobby farm turned into a career for Juschka when she learned about the BC Egg      New Producer Program. She now has 4,400 free range hens on her organic farm in Yarrow, British Columbia. “We have a spectacular way of life here,” she says. “I see my kids having a future on the farm here as well.”

A passionate advocate for agriculture and the egg industry, Juschka sees the young farmer program as a way to get more involved. “It’s an opportunity to get to know the industry better,” she says. “And, maybe I can help others learn from my experiences.”

Mérédith Lavallée, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec

A sixth generation egg farmer, Mérédith started working on her family farm full-time in 2020 after completing her diploma in agriculture. Along with eggs, their family raises pullets, broiler chickens, turkeys and pigs. 

With the hopes to take over the family business one day, Mérédith sees the value in learning from others in the industry, and the national young farmer program is a great way to do just that. According to Mérédith the program is “an opportunity to learn about things from a different point of view.”

Nathan Dennis, Cormack, Newfoundland

Nathan is a first generation egg farmer. He got his start thanks to an Egg Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador program that encourages new egg farmers joining the industry. His free run egg farm is the first of its kind in Newfoundland. 

As the sole proprietor of a growing business, Nathan sees the importance of expanding your network and connections, which he is keen to do through the national young farmer program. “Talking to other farmers, you can bounce different ideas back and forth,” he says. “Perhaps you can find something you can try that you haven’t thought of.”

From new farmers making a start in egg farming for the first time, to those carrying on the family farm, these five young leaders are part of a growing number of young people shaping the future of Canada’s egg industry. Check out our fact sheet to learn more about the program.