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Meet the leaders in our 2023 young farmer program

Every year, Egg Farmers of Canada welcomes a new crop of young leaders to take part in our national young farmer program. It’s an opportunity to share best practices, hone leadership skills, expand knowledge and build connections with industry and with other young leaders from across Canada.

These inspiring young people are the future leaders of our sector, and they are already stepping up to make their mark on the industry today. Read on to get to know the 2023 national young farmer program delegates.

Anders Kornelsen, Rosenort, Manitoba

Farming is often a family affair, and that’s certainly true for Anders Kornelsen of Rosenort, Manitoba. He farms with his parents, and together with his wife Janelle, is raising two kids who love coming to the barn with him.

Anders is involved in the community through the Manitoba Egg Farmers Egg Ambassador program, sharing his passion and knowledge about the egg industry with consumers at local events. “I liked hearing from consumers that we’re supplying a quality product that they enjoy and appreciate,” says Anders.

As part of the 2023 cohort of the national young farmer program, Anders hopes to expand his knowledge of the family business. “I want to learn more about the industry.”

Campbell Woike, Duncan, British Columbia

Grandson to Farmer Ben’s Eggs founder Ben Woike, Campbell graduated from Olds College with a diploma in Agriculture Management before joining his family as the General Manager of their egg farm and grading station on Vancouver Island.

The best part about being an egg farmer, says Campbell, is that no two days are alike. “One morning I can be in the office working out sales with grocery stores or talking to key stakeholders at a large grading company, and then in the afternoon I’m on the farm getting my hands dirty.”

Campbell began tagging along to farm meetings with his parents when he was a kid, and learning more about the egg industry is what motivated his interest in the national young farmer program. According to Campbell, getting involved in agriculture groups and programs like this means “you learn something new every day.”

Claire Ross, Moorefield, Ontario

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. “I love teaching my students about where their food comes from,” says the fifth generation farmer.

Claire farms alongside her uncle Pat, brothers Noah and Wyatt, and her parents Buck and Joyce. Her husband Ryan helps around the farm, and you’ll often see their kids, Rosslyn and Carson, lending a hand along with their cousins. “Our kids want to get up and go to the barn, help gather eggs and work in the field. We’ve got two future farmers on our hands!”

As part of the young farmer program, Claire is looking forward to honing her skills and building connections. She sees a bright future as more women take on leadership positions in the industry. “It’s important to show up and be involved,” she shares. “I want my daughter and nieces to see that.”

Jessica Lavallée-Morin, Saint-Bernard-de-Michaudville, Quebec

Growing up on her family’s egg farm in Saint-Bernard-de-Michaudville, Quebec, Jessica began a career as a French language teacher before taking on a role in poultry feed sales where she worked alongside farmers, veterinarians and agronomists. “That’s where I learned most of what I know today,” she says.

In 2021, this third generation egg farmer returned home to her family farm, Ferme Avicole B. Morin & Fils Inc. In addition to her day-to-day role on the farm, Jessica is also a volunteer with the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs du Québec’s Egg Interpretation Centre, teaching people about egg production from farm to table.

As one of this year’s leaders in the national young farmer program, Jessica is excited about fostering connections and sharing industry learnings with her fellow program members. “I love chatting with new people, I love sharing knowledge,” she says. “There’s always a different way, and every barn is different. I want to share in that knowledge.”

John Huitema, Dunnville, Ontario

After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in marketing management, John Huitema returned home to his family’s egg farm in Dunnville, Ontario. Three years later, John is now a full-time egg farmer, working alongside his parents, Nick and Cindy, and his sister Charlotte.

He regularly volunteers with Egg Farmers of Ontario at events like the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “We get to meet people, and they always think it’s cool to meet a farmer,” he says. “They appreciate that someone local to them is producing the foods that they enjoy.”

John is participating in the 2023 cohort of the national young farmer program, using it as a launching point to learn more about the egg industry and share best practices with other young leaders. “Hearing about how other people run their farms is eye-opening,” says John. “The knowledge sharing, I think, is the key benefit to participating in the program.”

Neil Vandenborn, Busby, Alberta

Neil is a fourth generation farmer who spent 10 years working in Alberta’s oil industry. Despite working away on a two-week rotation, Neil says he “never really left the farm.”

In 2014 he started a new job closer to home which allowed him more work-farm-life balance, and a few years later was able to return to farming full-time. “The lifestyle, the freedom, being able to work with family,” says Neil, are among the key benefits. “I’ve got three kids of my own now, they can come to work with me every day if they want to.”

Neil sees the national young farmer program as a chance to learn more and see the industry from a new perspective. “I was approached by Egg Farmers of Alberta about the program, and had heard from a few other people that the program could be valuable—an opportunity to see behind the curtain.”

Pierre-David Cyr, Amherst, Nova Scotia

Growing up on his family poultry farm in Saint-François-de-Madawaska, New Brunswick, Pierre always knew he wanted to work in agriculture. “It’s always challenging, and there’s never a dull moment,” he says. Pierre earned a diploma in farm management from Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec, and later, a Bachelor of Agricultural Business from Université Laval.

The third generation of his family to work in the poultry industry, Pierre sees tremendous opportunities to grow his career. According to Pierre, the young farmer program is the next step for growth. “It’s an opportunity to meet some people, see how everything works from the inside of the industry and make connections.”

The future is bright for Canada’s egg sector, in part thanks to innovative and forward-looking young leaders like these! Interested in learning more about our national young farmer program? Download our fact sheet to discover how we are empowering the next generation of industry leaders.