This is the first 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.
After training as a French language teacher, Jessica Lavallée-Morin, who had grown up on her family’s egg farm in Saint-Bernard-de-Michaudville, Quebec, found herself between teaching jobs in the summer of 2014. While working with her family that summer to build a new egg barn near Québec City, she was offered an opportunity to take on a temporary role as a poultry sales representative for Wilfrid Major Ltd., a Shur-Gain feed supplier from eastern Ontario.
“I’m a person of opportunities,” says Jessica. “I said, ‘Yes, why not? I’ll try it.’”
A job meant to be a trial turned into a full-time role that lasted for the next eight years, allowing her to learn about the egg farming industry from other feed representatives, veterinarians, farmers, and agronomists. “That’s where I learned most of what I know today,” she says.
In 2021, Jessica took on her latest challenge as director of operations on her family farm, Ferme avicole B. Morin & Fils Inc. As a third generation egg farmer, she is building on the legacy of her grandfather, Bernard Morin, who started the farm in 1940, and her father, Luc, who joined the business in 1978. Luc kickstarted an ambitious growth and expansion plan that has resulted in their company, Ferme Morin, becoming one of the largest egg producers in Canada—producing nearly 100 million eggs and 480,000 pullets annually.
Jessica’s role as director of operations has her managing all aspects of egg production and approximately 30 employees, including Spanish-speaking foreign workers from Guatemala, where her background as a language teacher—and her knowledge of the Spanish language—is a skill she draws upon daily.
“My favourite part of being an egg farmer has to be all the technical work—getting the hens as comfortable as possible so that they lay the most eggs, fine-tuning the feed and the temperatures in the barn,” she says. And there are always new challenges, including a learning curve that comes with a new organic barn.
Beyond the farm, Jessica has gotten involved with various industry groups, including representing Quebec as a member of the Pullet Growers of Canada and as a participant in Egg Farmers of Canada’s women in the egg industry program. She also volunteers to educate Canadians about egg production by travelling to schools and events with the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec’s Egg Interpretation Centre, a mobile trailer that showcases egg production from farm to table.
In 2023, Jessica joined Egg Farmers of Canada’s national young farmer program. Being part of the program, she says, will give her an opportunity to learn from others in the industry. “I love chatting with new people, I love sharing knowledge,” she says. “I miss going from farm to farm as a sales rep, seeing different ways to work. There’s always a different way, and every barn is different. I want to share in that knowledge.”