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The five-member Board of Directors consists of four elected/appointed registered producers and a non-egg producer appointed by the Government of B.C. by Order in Council.
Gunta Vitins has been spearheading innovative agri-food initiatives in the public and private sectors for over 25 years. Her work experience spans government, academia, business and industry development, agricultural production, processing, sales and marketing.
Originally hailing from Quebec with degrees in Agriculture and an MBA from McGill University, Gunta joined the BC Ministry of Agriculture in 1991 where she worked as a manager in market development for 5 years. From 1998 – 2010, Gunta held senior management positions at Pro Organics and SunOpta Inc, global leaders in organic and natural foods. Gunta was active on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Organic Value Chain Roundtable from 2007 – 2015 which included roles as Industry Co-Chair, and Chair of the Market Development Working Group. Gunta is also past President of the Canada Organic Trade Association and the Pacific Agricultural Certification Society.
Gunta currently runs an agri-food consulting business and is a member of the Resilient Solutions Consulting team. She lives in New Westminster with her husband and 2 active sons.
The official description of the position of Board Chair can be found here.
Walter Siemens has been an egg producer since 1986. Walter has served in various capacities and committees within BC’s poultry industry and currently serves on the National Board of Directors; involved in committees covering budget, production management, specialty production, and animal care.
Walter and his wife, Annette, have four children, two sons (both now married) along with two daughters — one of whom is also married, while the other is in university.
“I enjoy serving the egg industry and it’s a great way to support and raise a family… and now to see the next generation arriving is truly a blessing to us.”
Walter and Annette now have 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter along with yet another addition in the spring of 2019.
Walter and his family have recently completed a period of farm rejuvenation and expansion as old buildings were torn down and replaced with new barns designed to meet numerous egg type and market needs. It’s a busy time indeed, but quite an enjoyable phase of life as the children take on various roles and responsibilities of the day to day farming and are embracing the challenges that arise. Walter is looking forward to entering the organic market in 2019.
Matt Vane joins BC Egg’s Board of Directors after a two-year term on the Egg Producers Association. He is the chair of the Production Management Committee, the Board Secretary and BC Egg’s representative on the BC Poultry Association. In the past, he also served on the Specialty Audit Committee.
Matt grew up with a farming background so when it was time for him to pick a career, farming was his top choice. Matt enjoys farming, learning about new techniques and studying new farming opportunities. He is a New Producer Program winner and started his organic layer and pullet farm in 2012.
In 2017, Matt had the privilege of visiting Project Canaan in eSwatini. He was awed by the difference a few laying hens can make to the 180 orphaned children living at the farm.
While Matt is new to the Board, he is excited for the opportunities to learn and contribute to the BC egg sector.
Jon Krahn is a third-generation egg farmer. His interest in farming began as a child when he visited the family farm with his dad. He has been farming fulltime alongside his two brothers for the past 15 years.
Jon managed a layer farm for eight years before transitioning to his current role, managing the family owned feed mill. At the mill he has gained a new perspective of the industry by learning more about poultry health and nutrition.
Through the years, Jon has maintained an active role within the industry at events like Ag Days, Ask an Egg Farmer, and the PNE. Jon has had the privilege of being a director of the BC Egg Producers Association for seven years; the last two as Vice-President. He has enjoyed working alongside producers and serving in varied capacities and committees such as the Egg Industry Advisory Committee and the Production Management Committee. Through this experience he has gained valuable knowledge of the egg and poultry industry and their national systems.
Jon and his wife Danielle have four amazing young children. They are privileged to raise their family on a layer farm in the Fraser Valley.
Jeff Regier has spent much of his life in the agriculture sector. His parents bought a broiler breeder operation when he was in his teens and he spent several years doing farm chores before moving out on his own. He started his career as a feed rep with East Chilliwack Feed Coop in the early 1980s – he still works for the company (now called Shur-Gain) on a part-time basis.
Jeff and his wife, Barb, bought their own farm in 1986. They started growing leghorn pullets for the layer industry. Soon after, they bought broiler quota and started growing chicken for the BC market. A few years later, they made another switch when they won a new entrant lottery for broiler breeders. They built a new farm to house their broiler breeders. Finally, in 2015, they bought layer quota and converted their broiler breeder barn to a lay barn.
Jeff and his wife also held quota for broilers, broiler breeders and laying hens in Saskatchewan in the early 2000’s. They have since divested themselves of all quota in that province and now concentrate on running their farm in BC.
While this is Jeff’s first experience on BC Egg’s Board of Directors, he has served as a director and interim Chair of the BC Hatching Egg Commission. In addition, while he had a Saskatchewan farm, he became a director and alternate of the Canadian Hatching Egg Commission and Chair of the producers association.
Jeff recognizes that many people do not understand much about farming and have little opportunity to talk to farmers so he enjoys volunteering at public events like the PNE and Ask an Egg Farmer at Save On Foods stores where he can talk to members of the public about his experiences as a farmer and answer their questions.
Jeff and Barb have four married sons, six grandsons and one granddaughter. Babysitting the grandkids takes up a good portion of their spare time.
Production Management Committee (PMC) – Chair: Matt Vane
Audit & Finance Committee – Chair: Jeff Regier
Marketing & Communications Committee (MarComm) – Chair: Jon Krahn
Egg Industry Advisory Committee (EIAC) – Producer Chair
The Honest Egg: with an egg, what you see is exactly what you get. We think our industry should work the same way. Pure. Simple. And always honest.
Until the 1940s, the production of eggs in B.C. was typically a spin-off of other general farming activities. The number of flock owners was quite large while flock sizes tended to be small. Egg prices fluctuated widely from time to time. In times of low egg prices, many farmers simply stopped producing eggs.
Things began to change in the late 1940s and early 1950s when interest in production improvements led to a tendency toward larger operations, a trend that continued into the 1960s. The introduction of new production methods and facilities, ranging from genetic improvement in laying stock and improved hen health through more hygienic housing systems to automated processing and increased food safety, further served to reduce the number of egg farmers and to increase the capital investment needed for egg production and processing.
Supply often surpassed consumer demand which resulted in producer prices sagging well below the cost of production. The combination of constant price fluctuations and the ever-present threat of production losses caused great instability and lack of confidence for the future of egg farmers. The year 1966 was particularly disastrous for the BC egg industry.
At farmers’ request, a plebiscite was held in mid-1967 under provincial government auspices. Egg farmers voted 73% in favour of the Marketing Board Plan that had been presented by a joint poultry committee in 1966.
BC Egg became a legal entity by Order in Council No. 2263 on July 13th, 1967 – the first egg marketing board in Canada with quota.
BC Egg’s Board of Directors is composed of four elected Directors and an independent Chair appointed by the provincial government via Order in Council. The Board is charged with the stewardship of the BC Egg and its operations. BC Egg’s principal “service” is to administer the national supply management system for eggs in B.C. BC Egg is vested with provincial and federal authority to impose and collect levies from its registered producers.
In February 2005, the Government of B.C. released best practices guidelines which now apply to all public sector B.C. organizations that are governed by a board to which appointments are made through the Government of B.C. by Order of Council. Although BC Egg is not technically captured by this definition, it will follow the spirit and intent of these best practices governance guidelines.
As part of BC Egg’s Mission Statement we have committed to building trust with our stakeholders through transparency. To track our progress in this area we will follow a concrete plan, as below: