Meet Our Farmers
Our local egg producers here in New Brunswick are very serious about producing healthy, quality eggs for your table. We invite you to get to know these folks a bit better – they’re members of your community.
The Chiasson family has been producing eggs since 1959 when Emmanuel’s father, Pamphile,started with 300 hens to provide eggs to his mother’s general store. Now, day to day operations have now fallen to Emmanuel, although Pamphile, and many members of the Chiasson extended family, play a big role in the success of this farm.
Their 23,000 layer farm is located on the Acadian peninsula. They are a truly integrated operation growing their own pullets and grading their own eggs for sale to their retail clients.
Ask about the Law family in Belleisle Bay, New Brunswick and you’ll hear the story of a line of egg farmers who’ve made a habit of caring for their community.
In the 1930s, Gailand’s father started a mixed farm of fruits, vegetables, livestock and eggs. After realizing his knack for producing high-quality eggs, he sharpened his focus and became a founding member of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. Gailand is following in his father’s footsteps by advancing the local egg industry for 14 years as chair of Egg Farmers of New Brunswick.
Now in its third generation, Aaron and his wife Kara run the 30,000 hen operation, now named Zen Hen Farms Inc., and they truly believe in doing what they can to influence their community. The Law’s support the local high school through the provision of a bursary to a student attending the Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University.
Aaron left a previous career in Engineering to return to the farm in 2010. He values the opportunity to share the passion he has for community.
Aaron is also very involved in the egg community worldwide. He actively took part in Project Canaan, a joint initiative with Egg Farmers of Canada and the International Egg Foundation (IEF) in Swaziland which saw the construction of an egg laying operation. Heart for Africa, a non-for-profit organization also partnered in this project. “It gave me incredible perspective on how we can influence and make a huge difference in the world,” said Aaron of his participation in this project. “It is a great story where Canadian egg farmers are helping to make a difference in a country that really needs it.”
The Law’s are excited to lead their industry. In 2015, they completed the construction of a new barn for their hens. The project had incorporated industry-leading technological innovations and set the standard for sustainable egg farming for years to come.
Gilbert Matheson has farming in his blood – he started working on his grandfather’s farm ‘across the road’ as a young boy in this rural New Brunswick community. And he never left – working full time after graduating high school and eventually taking the reins of the operation in 2004 upon his grandfather’s retirement.
In 2009, Gilbert added laying hens to the mix which he houses in a free run facility, one of only two such egg production units in the province. He and his wife Stacy manage all aspects of the farm and all members of the family, from Gilbert’s grandmother to their six children, have a key role to play in this epitome of the family farm.
The Matheson’s know that a key to successful farming is the ability to adopt new ideas and adapt to change. If he’s got a new idea, Gilbert knows his family will be there to be his sounding board and help bring his plan to life.
Paul McConkey is the 5th generation on the farm in Tower Hill, New Brunswick. Growing up next door to the farm owned and operated by his grandparents, aunt and uncles, Paul was able to spend weekends and summers with a large extended family on the mixed operation. Through successful succession planning he had the opportunity to begin ownership and management of the egg operation in 2013 along with his wife, Naomi.
The farm has now been in the family for five generations. Starting with a small flock of hens and eggs that were sold at the local market, the operation today houses 26,000 egg layers along with facilities to grow their own chicks and contract grow for other egg farmers.
But despite the hard work and busy days, the family’s passion extends beyond the farm. “We are proud to produce eggs for our community on the same land as previous generations, while embracing improvements in hen housing and animal care.”
With their son Jesse, Bruce and Sarah take care of laying hens, dairy cows and other farm animals. The health and well-being of poultry and animals under their responsibility is a priority for them.
Producers are very concerned about their livestock, says Sarah. They are our livelihood. If we do not take care of them in a human way by meeting their basic needs, such as a comfortable environment, clean air, fresh water and nutritious food, they will not be healthy or productive.
Every year, hundreds of students come on excursions to the Mitham farm to see the chickens and cows and learn what life on a farm is all about.