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Abe Loewen, a Manitoba egg farmer, is making an environmental impact on his family’s farm near Arborg Manitoba.
The Loewen’s recently invested in solar panels to heat and cool the family’s home along with the entire 12,600
laying hen barn on their property.
“We enjoy seeing how sunshine can produce energy for our farm" said Abe.
Manitoba Egg Farmers (MEF) believes in promoting healthy living, animal care, food safety and environmental sustainability and these core values are demonstrated through our policies and actions. We also believe it is important to give back to the communities we live and work in. Here are some of the local groups and organizations MEF has financially supported.
MEF Director Helps Teach Swazi Farmers
Kurt Siemens (second from R) pictured here with Project Canaan’s poultry team–his students.
Forty-two percent of Swaziland’s population is infected with HIV/AIDS, and one in three swazis is undernourished. The African country is home to 200,000 orphans and Manitoba Egg Farmers’ Director Kurt Siemens is committed to doing what he can to help. Kurt is a true believer in Project Canaan, which includes an orphanage for over 100 children and farms that employ more than 250 Swazis. Kurt has made several trips to Swaziland to help build a poultry farm from the ground up. “The protein in eggs makes learning easier for the children,” said Kurt. “The team took courses in poultry management,” he says, “but learning from a book and from the real world are two different things.”
Egg Farmers of Canada now works to ensure a Canadian is always on the ground at Project Canaan, teaching staff the ins and outs of egg farming.
Manitoba Egg Farmers Give Back
By giving back, we feel it helps make our communities stronger. Each year, MEF proudly supports over 200 different groups and organizations, including:
Harvest Manitoba Partnership
In 2022, Harvest Manitoba (Manitoba’s food bank) saw the need for food assistance in our communities rise to new heights due to soaring food prices. Demand for food in Winnipeg and communities around Manitoba has never been greater, and Harvest has been seeing approximately 90,000 people each month – breaking records.
With help from the Egg Farmers Give Back program at Egg Farmers of Canada, Manitoba Egg Farmers was able to donate 12,000 dozen eggs to Harvest in October of 2022. This donation from MEF broke a record for the most eggs ever donated to Harvest in one month. Members of MEF’s Board and staff were able to go to Harvest and help debulk the eggs and package them into cartons for families to take home in their monthly hamper.
Donating eggs has been a priority for MEF for the last several years. In 2022, MEF donated two pallets of eggs per month and supported Harvest in purchasing two pallets at our cost from local graders. That is more than 7,000 dozen eggs per month – 84,000 potential meals – in Manitobans’ refrigerators and feeding hungry bellies.
Join Manitoba Egg Farmers in donating to Harvest today at www.harvestmanitoba.ca.
Pictured: The Van Deynze Family
The Manitoba Egg Farmers Farmer of the Year Award honours an individual egg farm for exemplary egg production practices including on-farm food safety, production management, animal care initiatives and community service. After a tight competition, we are pleased to announce that the 2020 Farmer of the Year Award goes to D & J Van Deynze Farms (Daniel and Joanne Van Deynze).
When Daniel purchased a farm in Holland, Manitoba that would one day become D & J Van Deynze Inc., he was only 19. He started with 20 dairy cows and three quarters of land – he also had a few beef cattle and pigs. A lot has changed around the farm over the past 50 years – buildings, land worked, animals and even owners. However, there are many aspects of this farm that haven’t changed – hard work and determination.
In 2012, Daniel and Joanne, together with their daughter Kate Fleming, made the decision to switch from dairy cattle to laying hens. It took them five months to renovate their barn to a fully enriched Hellmann housing system with air dryer and Maximus controller. Now eight years in, the flock has grown to more than 10,000 laying hens. Their egg facility has consistently attained a superior rating under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs over the years.
This family is a strong advocate for the egg industry. Their daughter Kate often attends Ag Awareness events sharing her experience of being an egg farmer with consumers. She also represented Manitoba when she participated in Egg Farmers of Canada’s national Young Egg Farmers program in 2018 and the Women in Egg Industry program in 2019.
Since the Van Deynze-Fleming family joined the egg industry, their family farm continues to grow in numbers and knowledge. Daniel and Joanne haven’t really slowed up much since their early days of farming – still working on the farm, but with the help of their grandchildren now. The grandchildren are taking on more and more responsibilities around the farm, from picking weeds to now picking eggs! Kate commented that this allows her to give her children (Billy, Anna and Luke) the same farming experience she had growing up: hard work, a strong work ethic and high expectations.
Pictured: MEF Director Doug Pauls presents award to Esther and Jason Thiessen.
The Manitoba Egg Farmers Farmer of the Year Award honours an individual egg farm for exemplary egg production practices including on-farm food safety, production management, animal care initiatives, and community service. After a tight competition, we are pleased to announce that the 2019 Farmer of the Year Award goes to Mr. and Mrs. Jason and Esther Thiessen at Schoen Eggs Producer Ltd.
Jason and Esther represent the third generation on their family farm that mainly produces grains. The interest of diversifying their farm operation motivated Jason to apply for MEF’s laying hen quota draw. In 2010, Jason’s name was drawn for 6,000 laying hens and their egg barn with a Salmet enriched housing system went into production in January 2011.
Jason’s family are always keen on adopting new technology for better farm management. Since their first flock, they have upgraded their environmental controller, added a feed mill as well as a misting system which has helped reduce mortality during the very hot days. Their egg facility has consistently attained a superior rating under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs over the years.
Jason is passionate about promoting the egg industry. He served on the Audit Committee for MEF for several years and participated in MEF’s Director Development program. He often represents MEF at Ag Awareness events such as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair. He commented that those events have been an excellent opportunity for him to share experiences with consumers, neighbours and friends. Changes in animal welfare practices along with pressures on supply management are a challenge, but are also opportunities for egg farmers like Jason to be innovative and become better managers. Jason would like to thank the farmers from the past for the vision they had to create a system that is good for consumers and egg farmers alike. Jason and Esther feel strongly that egg farming has a future for their family and possibly for generations to come.
Pictured: MEF Director Abe Loewen presents award to Eric and Sandra Dyck
Congratulations to 4D Farms for being selected as Manitoba Egg Farmers’ 2018 Farmer of the Year. This award honours Eric and Sandra Dyck’s family for their exemplary egg production practices including on-farm food safety, production management, animal care initiatives, and community service.
4D farms has been in egg production since 1967. Eric and Sandra represent the fourth generation on their family farm and the third regulated egg farmers. Along with their mother Susan and three children, they all work very closely in the family operation. They are passionate about egg farming and their facility has consistently attained a superior rating under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs over the years.
Eric and Sandra are keen on adopting new technology to continuously improve the farm management. In 2013, they switched from conventional cages to an enriched housing environment. They upgraded to a new controller system, which allows them to collect more data from the egg barn in order to make better management decisions to care for the hens. Recently they participated in Manitoba Hydro's program and installed a 144kw solar power system at the farm, which not only saves the energy costs but also improves the environmental sustainability of the farming operation.
Eric and Sandra have a passion for farming and love to share it anytime when they have an opportunity. They are actively involved in many Ag Awareness events that promote the egg industry such as Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Eggstravaganza, World Egg Day, and host tours at their facility to new immigrants and inner-city youth.
In addition to egg production, Eric and Sandra also farm 3,000 acres of grain, oil seeds, and forage seeds, as well as an alfalfa seed pollination business.
Pictured: Don & Shannon Gaultier with Board Director Doug Pauls
Congratulations to Ferme D&S Gaultier for being selected as Manitoba Egg Farmers’ 2017 Farmer of the Year. This award was presented to Don and Shannon at the Annual General Meeting on March 7th, by Board Director Doug Pauls. This award honours the Gaultier family for their exemplary egg production practices including on-farm food safety, production management, animal care initiatives, and community service.
Don grew up outside of Notre Dame de Lourdes and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1999 with a Diploma in Agriculture. Shannon grew up in Regina, and studied Business Management at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon. With their interest in agriculture, they applied through MEF’s New Entrant Program and in February 2013, their name was drawn for 6,000 laying hen quota. Less than one year later, in January 2014, they welcomed their first flock to their brand-new egg barn with Hellmann enriched cages and Maximus operating system. Along with their three sons Brenden, Gaby and Christian, they all work very closely in the family operation. They are passionate about egg farming and their facility has consistently attained a superior rating under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs over the years.
Don and Shannon are very keen in promoting our industry and supporting the local community. They both participated in the Egg Farmers of Canada Young Farmers Program. Don often represents MEF at Ag Awareness events such as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and Ag in the City and he is currently a member of MEF’s Audit & Finance Committee. They have supplied birds to the Red River Community College for the Veterinary Technician education program. With their free time, Don has sat on the board for their local church and was part of the finance committee for the new construction of the Wellness Centre in Notre Dame. Shannon has managed several of the boys’ baseball teams as well as volunteered shifts at the local poker derbies and curling bonspiels.
MEF’s annual Farmer of the Year Award honours a farmer who is exemplary in his or her egg production practices including on-farm food safety, production management, animal care initiatives, and environmental sustainability. At the Annual General Meeting on March 8, MEF director Doug Pauls announced the 2016 Farmer of the Year recipient was Rod Toews from Rocky River Farms.
Rod grew up on his parents’ layer farm near Ste. Anne, Manitoba and in the 80s he started his own farm in Elma with broiler chickens and hogs. When MEF announced a quota draw in 2009, his family members applied and his daughter Ashley won 6,000 laying hen quota. A year later, the Toews built a laying hen barn with enriched Hellmann cages including perches, nest and dusting boxes, and manure drying pipes. This was one of the firstly fully enriched barns built in Manitoba.
The Toews’ laying hen facility consistently attains a superior rating under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs. Rod and his wife raised two daughters and one son who help them on the farm.
At the 44th Annual General Meeting, held March 9th, MEF was pleased to present the 2015 Farmer of the Year Award to John and Elizabeth Kelly of MacGregor, Manitoba.
This annual award honours an individual farmer who is exemplary in his or her laying hen production practices. John and Liz have demonstrated excellence with respect to on-farm food safety, animal care and environmental protection. They have a fully enriched system to house their 13,000 quota hens, with room to expand. John and Liz are environmentally conscious with top notch manure storage and management while also practicing conservation tillage. They have been one of MEF’s “farm families” profiled in advertizing campaigns and have participated in the public outreach program for many years. Their layer barn has scored a perfect 100% three years in a row under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs.
John grew up on a farm in the Kincardine area north of Guelph, Ontario and he and Liz farmed there for 30 years. They took the plunge to move to Manitoba in 2003 for better farming prospects, and purchased their 7000 acre grain farm near MacGregor. They were the happy recipients of a 6000 bird quota under the new entrant program five years ago and have continually expanded their operation since.
John and Liz have raised 5 children who are now all adults.
Congratulations John and Liz!
This annual award honours an individual farmer who has earned outstanding achievement in a variety of criteria including on-farm food safety practices, production management, animal care initiatives and environmental sustainability. At the recent Annual General Meeting, we were pleased to announce the 2014 MEF Farmer of the Year Award goes to Don and Myrna Giesbrecht.
Don grew up on the farm which he took over from his parents in 1994 and carried over a proud tradition of excellence. His poultry facilities exemplify efficiency in on-farm food safety practices. Both layer and pullet barns are Part 3 accredited. The layer barn scored a perfect 100% four years in a row under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs.
Although Don has a small operation, he does not shy away from investing in his facilities. Both pullet and layer barns were upgraded with new equipment after he took over. Don has proved to be environmentally conscious as two storage buildings were built to ensure manure is handled properly on his farm.
Congratulations Don and Myrna!
After a tight competition, we are pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Farmer of the Year Award is Gilles Maguet from The Birds & The Bees Co. Ltd.
Gilles has ten years experience as an egg farmer. His layer barn scored a perfect 100% under the Start Clean-Stay Clean™ annual rating for three years in a row. He is environmentally conscious. Manure and mortalities from his barn are composted before spreading to the field. Also, Gilles is very keen in promoting our industry to the general public. He interacts with hundreds of visitors at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and Red River Ex each year and has organized tours of his egg barn. As an invited speaker of Ag in the Classroom, he frequently participates in Made in MB Breakfast events and has spoken to students from grade three to twelve to share his experience as an egg farmer.
The Farmer of the Year Award honours an individual farmer each year who has earned outstanding achievements in a variety of criteria including On-Farm Food Safety Practices, Production Management, Animal Care Initiatives, and Environmental Sustainability. After a tight competition, we are pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 Farmer of the Year Award is Randy Wiebe of Image Creek Farms Ltd.
Image Creek Farms is one of the most forward thinking and innovative farms in environmental management. To better manage layer manure, they purchased a windrow machine and have achieved success in windrowing and field storage experiments. They also exemplify excellence in on-farm food safety practices. Both layer and pullet barns are Part 3 accredited, and scored a perfect 100% in 2012 under the national on-farm food safety and animal care programs.
Congratulations, Randy and Image Creek Farms!
Manitoba Egg Farmers (annually) honours an individual farmer who has earned outstanding achievements in a variety of criteria including On-Farm Food Safety Practices, Production Management, Animal Care Initiatives, and Environmental Sustainability. Richard Gross of Iberville Farms Ltd. received this title of distinction at the 2012 Annual General Meeting.
Richard has over 10 years experience as an egg farmer and currently operates a conventional layer barn and a free-run pullet barn. His facilities are extremely clean and both layer and pullet barns are Part 3 certified under the national on-farm food safety program. Richard's layer barn scored 100% in the Start Clean-Stay Clean™ annual rating for the last four years in a row. Animal welfare is also important to Richard and he demonstrates this by housing his hens well above the recommended code stocking density. His facility achieved 100% under the national animal care program for the last four years running. Richard has proved he is environmentally conscious as manure from his barn is routinely transferred to a central composting site to avoid winter spreading.
Manitoba Egg Farmers (MEF) acknowledges the important role research plays in helping to gain knowledge and move the industry forward. MEF has provided funds to the University of Manitoba, which has been involved in a variety of egg nutrition studies and animal welfare research.
Some of the funded projects include:
Manitoba Egg Farmers (MEF) acknowledges excellent academic achievements in the Agriculture and Food Industry by sponsoring three scholarships and one bursary at the University of Manitoba each year. One of the recipients who recently received an MEF scholarship in Human Nutritional Sciences is Beth Ivison (scroll down to read article).
Beth will be graduating in spring 2021 with a B.Sc. in Human Nutritional Sciences.
Beth hopes to become a dietitian working in a hospital or a long-term care home. She currently works as a dietary aide at a long-term care home.
Beth enjoys gardening, baking, and playing baseball.
Beth thanks Manitoba Egg Farmers for the scholarship. Your generosity is much appreciated.
Suhao graduated in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Food Science from University of Manitoba. He is really interested in food production, nutrition, and microbiology. Suhao is currently looking for a food-related position to get more experience before pursuing higher education.
Samantha Nixon is the recipient of the 2021 Manitoba Egg Farmers Scholarship in Animal Systems.
Sam has recently graduated from the University of Manitoba on the Dean’s Honour list with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, degree in Animal Systems.
Sam is very passionate about animal agriculture and is an advocate for the humane treatment of animals. She hopes to pursue a career in large animal veterinary medicine with a focus on the swine industry. Sam adores working with pigs and she has a high level of respect and admiration for the veterinarians at HyLife that she has been working alongside for the last 4 years. Sam hopes to attend the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 2021.
In her spare time, she loves to immerse herself in music, gardening, and painting.
Sam is very grateful to be part of the animal systems community at the University of Manitoba and is honored to receive the MEF Scholarship.
My name is Mel Kaufman and I am graduating from the University of Manitoba – Agriculture Diploma
program in spring 2021. Thank you for the honour of receiving the Manitoba Egg Farmers Award. I am a mature student grad who decided to complete my studies
later on in life at age 50. This was a great undertaking on my behalf with many rewards that I will take with me.
I have a farming background prior to my studies in Agriculture. I have grain and livestock farming in my blood and find much satisfaction in this field. I remember at a young age going to my uncles farm gate egg farm and gathering eggs and learning about all that I saw from my uncle, who poured his soul into his operation and livelihood to provide for his family. I said to myself that someday I would go to school to further my knowledge in egg production. I took a Poultry Production course at the University of Manitoba and took home a great deal and wealth of learned information with many thanks to my professor.
I am presently employed at The University of Manitoba as an Agriculture Attendant working with the Plant Science Department at the Campus Agriculture Point Station. I manage the Point Shop and Cover Crops planted in rotation within the crop plots on site. I manage operations to help plant science research reach its highest potential and am held in high regard for my work. Teamwork is a key factor in my goals at work.