Farm Leader: Kurt Siemens, egg farmer

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“I’m proud my kids have that choice of being farmers if they want to and understand what the rural lifestyle is about.”
– Kurt Siemens, Rosenort, Manitoba

Meet Kurt Siemens – A successful third generation egg farmer, living in Rosenort, Manitoba with his wife Tami, and their children Madisson, Harley and Eyob. Farming has always been a part of Kurt’s life. After a three year stint in construction, Kurt began running the farm he grew up on and in 1993, chose to buy the family farm.

Over time, the farm has gone through various changes and improvements. The barn was retooled in 2002, and in 2010, our family switched over a quarter of the production to enriched furnished housing. “I wanted to give my birds the best condition I can, and that was one way we could do that,” Kurt explained. Today, the Siemens’ farm raises 20,000 birds. The Siemens also supply a specialty egg – VitaEgg – to cater to the consumer market with preferences for an egg produced with only vegetarian feed. They also rent out some of the land surrounding their farm for the production of crops.

“I think it’s a success because we can consistently provide healthy, quality foods, and the hard work, of course. You put your blood, sweat and tears into your business.”

Kurt also appreciates the lifestyle that comes with this type of business.

“Rural living is about community. I started coaching my son’s hockey team and fifty per cent of kids are from in town, so you also get the opportunity to talk to people about agriculture. If you’re proud of what you do, you’re more than willing share that passion with people.”

“I’m proud my kids have that choice of being farmers if they want to and understand what the rural lifestyle is about.”

The family farm may be passed along another generation. Kurt and Tami’s son, Harley, is in his first year of agricultural studies at the University of Manitoba and is thinking of taking over the farm one day. “I’m investigating the acquisition of another farm so all my kids can continue to farm – that’s my succession plan. We have to start somewhere.”

While much of his time is spent working on his farm, Kurt is also actively involved with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Egg Farmers of Manitoba, and the Egg Farmers of Canada. He says he has joined these organizations because he “likes being at the forefront of changes and new technology.”

“I enjoy getting to meet people in Canada and from across the world, and am continually becoming more knowledgeable about agriculture. All that knowledge helps you do better on your farm and provide a better product for consumers.”

Kurt feels that key to the success of the sector is being able to adapt. Farmers are continually adapting to consumer requests and with new research and technology, farmers are able to meet those needs. A focus on animal welfare concerns from consumers and society is one of the biggest changes Kurt has seen in recent years; food safety has also seen increased scrutiny.

“I can remember as a kid how we used to store our products on the farm. It would be difficult to do the same now because we have access to knowledge that helps farmers care better for the product we produce and the animals that produce it. When I was younger we used the best technology we could, just as we do now – the science and knowledge we have now directs our decisions.”

“It’s not the same farm it once was,” Kurt reflects, “We’ve grown and made changes. My parents taught us that to make the best out of what you have. I’m very proud of our family farm and the products we produce for consumers.”

Originally appeared in the CFA in Action newsletter.

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