Name: Glen Jennings and children; Blake and Amy
Farm: Bayview Poultry Farms Ltd.
Location: Masstown, Nova Scotia
Farming Since: 1940’s, 4th and 5th Generation active today
Other: Blake’s Pumpkin Jungle - u-pick pumpkins
The breezes that blow over Bayview Poultry Farm in Nova Scotia don’t just keep the mosquitoes away during the summer. They also rotate the wind turbines that generate power for the egg farm, enabling the Jennings family to use a renewable energy source – and helping them reduce operating costs on their farm.
Glen Jennings installed the turbines in 2007. He farms with his son Blake, and his father Cecil lives just down the road. Their five-generation family farm has been innovating since it began in the late 1940’s.
“Our farm wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the hard work, innovation, and passion of generations who’ve gone before,” says Glen.
Over the years, housing for the hens and feeding and manure removal systems have evolved to benefit the hens and simplify farming tasks. Advancing technology has meant many procedures on the farm are now mechanized or computerized, but egg farming is still a hands-on job. Checking on the farm’s 14,000 hens, collecting their eggs, cleaning the barns, maintaining equipment, and planning future innovative projects keep these farmers busy.
“Working with your family brings both great rewards and some challenges, but I can’t imagine doing anything else,” says Blake. “This isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle we’ve chosen.”
Glen agrees. “I love producing an environmentally-friendly product for consumers. Knowing that eggs laid on our farm are enjoyed by friends and neighbours in our community and fellow Nova Scotians brings us great joy and motivates us to do the best job we can as farmers. I hope our farm thrives for generations to come in whatever innovative form the future brings.”
We operate the first “green egg” farm in Nova Scotia. I am very proud of my family’s dedication to the environment. We installed three wind turbines on our naturally windy farm resulting in nearly three quarters of the farm’s power coming from wind, with plans to soon go off the grid entirely. I enjoy taking pride in producing a fresh, nutritious product that people feel good about eating. It’s fun to produce a product for the consumer. I enjoy it. I love it!
No. In Canada it is illegal to administer hormones or steroids to hens in any form, including through feed or water. Any antibiotics or medications are only given under the direction of a veterinarian. If hens become ill, their eggs are diverted away from public consumption until the hens are well again. The feed we give to our hens is made of grains, proteins, vitamins, and minerals – all the things hens need to stay healthy and thrive.
Our favourite egg recipe is Eggs Benedict!
Meet Blake, a fifth-generation egg farmer at Bayview Poultry Farms in Masstown, NS. It’s not hard to tell that young farmer Blake Jennings is passionate about his family egg farm and his farming roots dating back five generations.
I’ve always loved farming and it has always been my dream to work on our family farm and take it over someday as my own.
The farm was established by my great-great-grandfather, Stephen Jennings. Then it was passed down to his son, and my great-grandfather Earl Jennings. Next, my grandfather, Cecil Jennings took over and today the farm is currently owned by my father Glen! I am working towards taking over the farm one day as well, when my father retires.
No, it has not always been hens! It started out as a variety of things – dairy and beef cattle, hens, crops, pigs, and sheep. We’ve seen it all! The original farm has been divided into two separate farms. My father and I operate the poultry farm and my cousins operate the dairy farm just down the road. While I mainly work on the poultry farm, I do help out on weekends at the dairy farm milking and feeding cows, along with planting and harvesting crops in the spring and fall seasons.
I represent Nova Scotia as a young farmer through a national young farmer program presented by Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC). As part of the program, I completed a number of learning modules through EFC! The modules ranged from topics such as public speaking, marketing, and strategic planning to more industry specific topics such as on-farm food safety and animal care programs.
For me, one of the best parts of being involved in the young farmer program is having the opportunity to meet with other young farmers from all across the country. I’ve been given the opportunity to travel to conferences and workshops representing the egg industry of Nova Scotia all over Canada and have met several different people. Not just egg farmers but farmers from different industries. It’s good to be able to discuss issues that have come up all across the country. We share stories about how we deal with issues and overcome problems. It’s very helpful.
Being a young farmer and being able to represent my province means a lot to me. I love to get out there and do as much work as I can to educate the public on egg farming. The Young Farmers program gave me the tools to do a better job at this, and I get to help people learn about my passion: Eggs!
I have met a number of Members of Parliament and Senators through the young farmer program. But most exciting, in 2014 I met Prince Charles at the Halifax Seaport Market during an official royal visit to Nova Scotia! It was an incredible experience. Not only getting to meet and shake his hand, but to have a conversation and tell him a bit about our farm. We talked about egg farming in Nova Scotia, hen housing, and environmental responsibility. It’s something I will never forget!
The greatest feeling about being an egg farmer is waking up each morning and heading to the barn to care for the hens knowing I am playing a part in creating a perfect, nutritious product for Nova Scotians. I am extremely proud of my family farm and being a part of this life.
I am proud of my farm as a whole but it is incredible that we are able to consider ourselves a ‘green’ egg farm. We have been using wind turbines to power the majority of the farm for over ten years now! The farm is located along the shores of the Bay of Fundy, so we see strong winds almost daily making it the perfect environment to turn wind power into energy. Anyone who visits the farm will notice how windy it is here. We were looking for something new to try that would make the farm more environmentally friendly and potentially save some money in the long run. We thought that wind power would work perfectly… and it does!
A top priority for all egg farmers in Nova Scotia is the environment. We’ve been exploring new ways to go green. As a young farmer it is important for me to keep up with the latest technology so that when the time comes, we can explore the most up-to-date versions.
My greatest challenge is definitely when I am left operating the farm alone while my father is away. My dad sits on a number of committees through EFC so he is frequently attending meetings in Ottawa.
Knowing I am providing my home province with high-quality, nutritious product means a lot to me. But, knowing that my father and grandfather strongly believe in my ability to run the farm on my own someday means even more. Hearing my father and grandfather say that they are proud of me and that they are happy I will be taking over the farm someday, that’s what makes all of the hard work worth it.