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Due to the pandemic and the challenges it presented, BC egg producers felt they couldn’t choose just one person as their ambassador for 2020. Rather, a number of exceptional farmers were chosen by their peers for recognition. Here’s a tribute to all those producers who went above and beyond in this uniquely challenging time.
On March 6, 2020, at the BC Egg AGM held in Vancouver, BC, Rob Martens of Twin Willows Enterprises was presented with the 2019 Producer of the Year award.
Rob was nominated by his fellow producers and selected by a committee of judges who recognized his commitment to egg farming and the community.
Rob worked in the egg laying industry for years, and when the opportunity to purchase a farm came up, he jumped at the chance. He hasn’t looked back since making that decision.
He and his son work together and both are very involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm. He takes great pride in making sure his hens are healthy and that the farm looks camera-ready at all times. In fact, he doesn’t hesitate to open his farm up for tours whether it is a fellow producer or member of the public coming through.
Rob recognized the need for more organic eggs in the province and made the switch from free range to organic to meet this need. He recognizes that the extra paperwork, record keeping, and audits are necessary to ensure that the public is confident they are getting top-quality organic eggs.
Rob is also happy to help out fellow producers. One of his nominators called him the “Chicken Guru” and stated that he is quick to help anyone who asks. If he doesn’t know the answer, he makes sure he finds the answer.
Another nominator summed it up nicely: “At a moment’s notice, he will be there to help you out.”
BC Egg wishes to congratulate Rob on his continued commitment to the betterment of egg farming in BC.
On March 1, 2019, at the BC Egg AGM held in Vancouver, BC, Mark Siemens of Siemens Farm was presented with the 2018 Producer of the Year award.
Mark was nominated by his fellow producers and selected by a committee of judges who recognized his commitment to egg farming and the community.
Mark is dedicated to improving the egg sector in BC and to helping the public learn more about eggs and egg farming. He is the President of the Egg Producers Association – a group committed to improving farm practices and providing information to the public. In this role, he acts as a mentor for new egg farmers and loves to discuss new farming methods with seasoned farmers.
Mark is an Egg Ambassador and never hesitates to participate in public outreach events while encouraging other farmers to join him at events such as the PNE. He has toured both journalists and the public around his farm as a way of breaking down barriers between farmers and consumers.
BC leads the country when it comes to the production of cage-free and organic eggs. His family’s farm was one of the first to use the latest aviary cage-free system. An aviary is a barn with a tiered system that provides the hens with dedicated areas for food, water, nest boxes, perching and scratching. The farm is adding an organic flock of hens this year because Siemens Farm wants to produce the types of eggs British Columbians want to consume.
One of Mark’s nominators summed it up best: “The name of the game is producing eggs and he is one of the best!”
BC Egg congratulates Mark on his dedication to his farm and the egg sector in BC.
March 7, 2018
Bodo Goetzke of Feather Creek Farm received the 2017 Producer of the Year award from BC Egg.
Bodo was nominated by his fellow producers and selected by a committee of judges who recognized his commitment to egg farming and the community. Here’s what Bodo’s nominators said about him:
Community Involvement – Bodo is dedicated to helping those less fortunate than himself. He helps to organize an annual summer golf tournament that raises funds for the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) in addition to year-round fundraising for the UGM.
Helping Fellow Producers – Bodo is happy to answer questions from fellow farmers and enjoys coming up with ideas to solve issues other farmers are having with their flocks.
On-Farm Involvement – Bodo and his wife, Sharon, manage the day-to-day functioning of their farm. In addition, Bodo has volunteered on several BC Egg committees over the years.
Implementing Innovations – One of the original farmers when BC Egg began 50 years ago, Bodo has not shied away from innovation over the years. He keeps up to date with the latest science in hen housing, feed, veterinary care and implements changes to ensure his hens are happy, healthy and producing good quality eggs.
Market Responsibility – Early on, Bodo saw the need for cage-free eggs so he made wholesale changes on his farm for both his layers and pullets. He was one of the first farmers to install an aviary system. (An aviary hen housing system consists of several levels with different amenities – such as nest boxes, food, water, scratching areas – on the different levels. The hens are free to move between levels.)
Bodo received several prizes including a jacket and travel gift cards; however, the biggest honour is being the face of BC’s egg farmers for the next year.
March 8, 2017
Randy Dahl of A&M Poultry received the 2016 Producer of the Year award from BC Egg.
The Producer of the Year Award is given annually to a farmer who exemplifies the following criteria: community involvement; helping fellow farmers; on-farm involvement; implementing innovations; and market responsibility
Randy was nominated by his fellow producers and selected by a committee of judges who recognized his commitment to egg farming and the community. Here’s what Randy’s nominators said about him:
Community Involvement – Randy’s input to various agriculture programs through the City of Abbotsford have affected all producers in how they use their land and how they farm.
Helping Fellow Producers – Randy’s nominators shared a story to illustrate how he helped a fellow farmer in need. The farmer was away from the farm and his father was taking care of the hens. The power had been out for 24 hours and the farmer was worried about how much diesel he had left in his generator so he asked Randy if he had any. Randy drove to the farm at 9 pm, filled up the diesel tank, and refused to take payment as “that’s what farmers do for each other.”
On-Farm Involvement – Randy manages his farm businesses and is involved in the daily chores necessary to keep his hens happy and healthy.
Implementing Innovations – Randy brings in green waste and mixes it with the manure generated by his hens. Time and heat turns this waste into excellent compost which he then sells to gardeners.
Market Responsibility – Randy has changed production types to match consumer demand for different types of eggs. He also raises pullets (chicks) for other farmers.
Randy received several prizes including a jacket and travel gift cards; however, the biggest honour is being the face of BC’s egg farmers for the next year.
Jake’s father moved to BC in 1936 with $637 in his pocket at the height of the Great Depression. Jake was four at the time. The family put together a farm on Huntington Road that was later expropriated by the government to build the Abbotsford Airport. Next, the family rebuilt a farm on King Road. Pacific Pride Chicks is located on that same property today.
Jake started in the industry in 1953 when he borrowed $8,200 from his dad and started 700 chicks that year. Clearbrook Grain and Milling also opened in 1953. Jake and his two brothers were on the original Egg Producers Association and Jake was known for going door-to-door with a petition to start the BC Egg Marketing Board because he knew it would benefit the industry.
Everything Jake did was for the good of the industry. He dedicated his life to making the industry better. He helped people locate, buy and then thrive on their farms – especially in the early days of supply management. During the recession of the 1980s, Jake made sure everyone had enough feed for their birds.
Before there was a Tim Horton’s on every corner, Jake opened his office up every Saturday morning for coffee and conversation. Everyone was welcomed – even if they didn’t buy feed from Jake. Jake truly cared – about individual farmers and the industry as a whole.
Sadly, Jake passed away but he leaves a legacy of farmers helping farmers and of farmers working together to help the industry thrive.
It is an honour to present the first ever Legacy Award to Jake Friesen. Jake’s children Marvin, Melinda and Randy accepted this Legacy Award on behalf of their father.