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Shuswap, North Okanagan scramble up egg farms

Farms added in Salmon Arm and Armstrong
B.C.’s newest egg farmers come from Salmon Arm and Armstrong. (

B.C.’s newest egg farmers can’t wait to get cracking.

Sajid Hameed of Salmon Arm, and Chris Grohmueller of Armstrong have become egg farmers thanks to BC Egg’s New Producers Program (NPP). The pair have been given the chance to earn up to 3,000 quota units – otherwise known as hens – and the farms will supply the local areas with fresh eggs every day.

“Both Sajid and Chris are already well known in their communities for the quality of eggs they produce from their small flocks,” says Gunta Vitins, BC Egg’s chairperson. “They have solid business plans as well as dedicated customers, and we’re sure that with the extra hens provided by the New Producer Program, they are going to be successful egg farmers.”

The NPP is designed to help people become egg farmers by providing them with quota. Applicants must submit a comprehensive application package that proves they are capable of both caring for hens and running a small business. All applications are reviewed by a committee and all those meeting the requirements are entered into a draw for the quota.

Hameed has agriculture in his blood.

From the hobby farm he grew up on in Pakistan to his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in agriculture to his many years of experience farming in Canada, he couldn’t think of a better way to raise his two sons than on his own farm. He and his family looks forward to providing more eggs for Salmon Arm.

Grohmueller grew up on a squab farm in Abbotsford but decided to pursue a career as a plumber and gasfitter.

When he and his wife had the opportunity to buy land in Armstrong, they jumped at it in order to fulfill their dream of raising their children on a farm. They farmed squab for several years until COVID hit and restaurants (the main users of squab) were closed.

Not ones to give up, Grohmueller and his wife started growing sweet corn and pumpkins, and have now added laying hens to their small farm.

The requirements for the NPP draw are based on the current needs of the province.

In 2023, the goal was to start new egg farmers in areas outside of the Fraser Valley (80 per cent of egg farms are currently located in the Fraser Valley). In order to prove that the applicants are capable of looking after hens, only people with a small lot permit would be accepted. A small lot permit holder is someone who has between 100 and 399 laying hens, is a direct marketer and who has voluntarily registered with BC Egg.

“We encourage anyone with more than 99 hens to join our small lot program,” says Gunta. “It is extremely likely that future NPP draws will only be open to our small lot permit holders as we know these folks are dedicated to farming, caring for animals and building their market.”

Other egg farms in the North Okanagan-Shuswap are LMF Holdings and Egg-Cellently Organics in Armstrong; Okanagan Riverbend Poultry in Grindrod; and Ponnerosa Farms in Sorrento.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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