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Terrace egg producer Daybreak Farms breaks ground on upgrades

Improvements bring certainty to northwest B.C. egg industry
Daybreak Farms in Terrace broke ground on a new barn that owner Kieran Christison estimates will house 95 per cent of her growing flock or about 37,000 chickens. (Staff/Terrace Standard)

Terrace egg producer Daybreak Farmsbegan work to revamp and expand its operations, with construction starting on a new barn that owner Kieran Christison estimates will house about 37,000 chickens.

“It’s going to hold all of our caged production, so like 95 per cent of our total production will be held in this new barn.

‘We’ve started our modernization and we’re not wasting any time. Ground has been broken and that’s a good start for sure.”

Now on track to double its output, Daybreak is investing roughly $10-million in production and environmental upgrades that will see the farm comply with upcoming legislation and centralize operations.

The farm already supplies eggs across the north, from Haida Gwaii to Prince George, to more remote communities like Dease Lake and to hospitals through Northern Health.

As the only egg producer and grading station in northwest B.C., Daybreak has had its home in the area known as the bench since the 1950s, before the city was incorporated, previously as Sampson’s Poultry Farm.

Christison’s family purchased the farm in 1992 and she hopes the upgrades will bring certainty to the farm’s future by keeping up with modern egg farming practices in B.C.

“This will improve living conditions for chickens, minimize waste through clean composting, reduce neighbourhood impacts and will protect the local food supply in the northwest for years to come.”

Catherine White, who teaches biology at Coast Mountain College, said even with a two-fold increase in the number of chickens, she expects fly populations and smell to decrease as the farm modernizes.

She explained that odours from the farm are caused by bacteria that thrive in wet manure. The farm’s new waste management system will dry the manure and store it a way that will reduce the smell, which is what attracts flies, solving both problems.

White added that the proposed composting system for waste other than manure is “an excellent idea” because it will eliminate pathogens like e-coli and salmonella while killing any parasites.

Katie Lowe, executive director at the B.C. Egg Marketing Board that oversees egg farming in the province, said the industry has grown by about 20 per cent since about 2015 and there is room for Daybreak Farms to expand.

“I think being in the north, and thinking about food sustainability and security, having that production right there at your doorstep is a great benefit to everyone up there,” Lowe said.

Aside from Terrace, egg production and grading in B.C. only happens on Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley. There’s production in Salmon Arm and Kamloops, but those eggs have to be shipped out for grading, which is the process of sorting eggs for quality control.

READ MORE: City of Terrace backs northwest B.C.’s biggest egg producer to double output


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