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Meet Mr. May in the 2012 Faces of Farming calendar

 
by Patricia Grotenhuis

The world of horse racing beckoned for a 10-year period for Darryl Drain, but eventually he found his way back to the family egg farm. Drain’s role as an Ontario egg farmer and an advocate for the egg industry has earned him a spot as the face of May in the 2012 Faces of Farming Calendar published by the Farm Care Foundation. His page was sponsored by Egg Farmers of Ontario.

He had always planned on eventually taking over the farm, but the road between when he left his father’s farm and on-farm store and when he returned to it was a long one.  Drain studied at the University of Guelph for a diploma in agricultural business, and then took a step towards training racehorses.

“I never thought of doing it until I did it.  One day I took a vacation, and I didn’t return to the farm for 10 years,” says Drain.

During high school, Drain and a friend owned a racehorse together - his friend’s father was a trainer. who began teaching Drain about training.  He turned it into a career, training horses out of both Peterborough and Cambridge. 

Although it was a good job, when Drain and his partner Laura had a two year old daughter and a second on the way, Drain decided to leave the horse world with all of its travelling, and return to the family farm.  He wanted his children to grow up on the farm and wanted to be able to see his family every day. And he said that while the two careers seem very different, they both include a great deal of attention to ensuring that the care of the animals he is responsible for (whether it be horses or hens) is as good as it can possibly be.

Drain’s family has farms in both Tweed and Norwood, in Hastings County.  Both farms are on main roads, and have retail stores offering fresh eggs and egg memorabilia, bird feed and dog food to the public.

Whether he is attending events with the local egg board, donating eggs to a school breakfast program, or attending personal development courses in Toronto or Ottawa, he does his best to answer any questions people might have.

This is his farm’s philosophy with all customers. He and his staff put a a special effort into answering questions about food and farming.  They take time to tell their customers why farmers do what they do, and explain the changes that are ongoing to improve practices.

“Once they talk to you, they realize there are reasons behind the practices and still buy eggs.  I can’t remember the last time, if ever, a customer asked questions and left without buying,” says Drain.

Drain says on their farm, they have given the hens larger cages than industry standards recommend. They also have an electronic system for monitoring cracks on egg shells and eliminating those eggs from their system and they’ve just installed a new manure storage system, to name some of their improvements.

Drain has attended many industry workshops and tradeshows, some international.  “In Canada, to me, we are dealing with a higher level of practices and sense of well-being for hens,” says Drain.

Other ways Drain is involved in the agricultural industry and the community include being a councillor on the egg board for the past several years and sponsoring hockey, soccer and figure skating programs for local youth.

You can see the entire Faces of Farming calendar at http://www.farmfoodcare.org/index.php/news/calendar-2012

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Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 9th, 2012 :: Filed under Animal care,Canada,Consumers,Education and public awareness,eggs,Faces of Farming,Farm life
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