This is the seventh in 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, an initiative designed to prepare the next generation of industry leaders.
In addition to being an egg farmer, Claire Ross wears many hats, including being an Ontario Certified French teacher, turkey farmer, grain grower, gymnastics coach and Mom. Bringing agriculture to the classroom, she says, is one of the best things about being a farmer and a teacher.
“I love teaching my students about where their food comes from,” says the teacher and fifth generation farmer from Moorefield, Ontario. At home on the farm, every day is an opportunity to learn something new for Claire’s two children Rosslyn, age seven, and Carson, age five. The kids are the sixth generation on this family farm.
“Our kids want to get up and go to the barn, help gather eggs and work in the field,” she says. “We’ve got two future farmers on our hands!”
Like her kids, Claire says that she wanted to be a farmer from a young age. Her career in teaching at a local school allows her the flexibility to pursue that childhood dream, which she does alongside her uncle Pat, brothers Noah and Wyatt, and her parents Buck and Joyce. Her husband, Ryan, a powerline technician, also helps around the farm in the barns and in the fields by repairing and maintaining machinery. Along with Claire’s kids, you’ll often find her nieces and nephew helping around the farm too!
The family works collaboratively, meeting every morning for coffee to discuss the day’s plan and divvy up the jobs that need to be done. The flexibility that comes with working in a family business is something that she appreciates.
Claire’s grandfather Sinclair and his parents began farming eggs and today the family’s farm, Ross Enterprises Ltd., is home to 18,000 hens. They also raise free range turkeys and grow over 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans, cover crops and wheat, which go to a local mill. The grains then return to the farm as a specially-formulated feed for the hens and turkeys. To bring the process full circle, the manure from the poultry barns is then spread on the crop fields to provide important nutrients.
Producing safe, nutritious, and sustainable food for Canadian consumers is important to Claire, who manages the farm’s nutrient management and biosecurity plans and maintains paperwork for compliance and audits. The Ross family have embraced green technology by using solar power on the farm.
Beyond the farm—and the schoolyard—Claire is an active leader in the agriculture sector, currently serving in her seventh year as an Egg Farmers of Ontario councillor in Zone 7. This year, she’s participating in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program to learn more about the egg farming industry and hone her leadership skills.
“It’s important to show up and be involved,” says Claire, who wants to see more representation of women in leadership positions. “I want my daughter and nieces to see that.”
Claire is proud to produce high-quality food for Canadian families and to work towards a sustainable future in agriculture.