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Jens Boekhorst: A farming legacy in the making

This is part of 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.

Jens Boekhorst

Brunkild, Manitoba

From all the way in Groningen in the northern Netherlands to the heart of Canada, Jens Boekhorst’s journey epitomizes the spirit of reinvention while honouring family tradition. 

In 2006 Jens and his parents sold their farm in Groningen for a fresh start in Brunkild, Manitoba. With dreams of expansion and new opportunities, they established Boekhorst Poultry Ltd., setting the stage for Jens’ passion for farming. Today, as one of the driving forces behind their operation, Jens blends sustainability, technology and community involvement to shape the future of egg farming.

A farm boy at heart

Jens grew up loving the farm life. Back in the Netherlands, his family farmed chickens and grew various crops such as potatoes, wheat, canola, sugar beets and black currants. While he was only five when they moved to Canada, he was helping with daily chores by the age of 10.

He always wanted to be a farmer, and by the age of 15 Jens knew he wanted to take over the family farm one day. His passion for agriculture only grew stronger as he worked alongside his parents, brother and sisters.

Learning beyond borders

After high school, Jens pursued agricultural studies at the University of Manitoba. He even spent a winter in Australia, learning about different farming practices in New South Wales and Tasmania. The experience opened his eyes to how other farmers manage their land and resources, especially in challenging climates. The Australians’ careful attention to resource efficiency due to their drier land conditions taught Jens valuable lessons he brought back to Canada.

Embracing sustainability through technology 

At Boekhorst Poultry Ltd., harnessing the power of innovation is key to their success. The farm uses electric boilers instead of traditional propane or natural gas to heat their barns, making them more environmentally friendly. 

Cooling pads in enriched colony housing systems keep the birds comfortable during hot summers, while advanced machinery such as a palletizer and quick packer streamline egg packing, saving time and labour. These automated technologies allow Jens and his family more time to focus on what they love—farming.

Life on the farm 

In addition to producing eggs, Jens and his family grow crops such as corn, wheat, canola and soybeans. For Jens, farming is more than a job; it’s about having something that depends on him every day. “You have to get up and care for these animals and the success of seeing the results afterwards is really rewarding,” he says.

“Being your own boss, having your own lifestyle and building up your own dream are beautiful things.”

Community involvement 

As a trained Level One firefighter, Jens responds to between 10 and 15 calls a year. Being a firefighter allows him to give back to his community while maintaining his connection to the land. “The adrenaline spikes pretty high,” he says.

Jens is also looking forward to the national young farmer program and attending the in-person meetings this summer. “I want to learn more about all the ins and outs of the system, so when I take over the farm one day I can be ready for it.”

The sky is the limit

Jens says he’s excited about the future of egg farming, especially for young people. “There are a lot of eggs eaten in a day and they’re a health trend, so the demand is definitely there,” he says. “This is a growing industry, with plenty of room for expansion and innovation for years to come.”