Vancouver Island’s famous Farmer Ben’s Eggs has grown to be one of the Island’s largest egg producers, run by three generations of the Woike family—Ben, his son Ian and daughter-in-law Jennifer, and now Ben’s grandson, Campbell. After graduating with a diploma in Agriculture Management from Olds College in 2021, Campbell returned home to the farm.
Ben Woike started producing eggs in the early 1980’s with just a few hens. Ian joined the family business, and the Farmer Ben’s brand began in 1994 with the addition of an egg grading station. Today, Farmer Ben’s distributes eggs five days a week to more than 500 customers across Vancouver Island, including grocery stores and restaurants, and ships wholesale eggs to the Gulf Islands region of British Columbia.
In 2022, Campbell took on the role of general manager, a job that sees him overseeing the office, grading station and egg farm, which includes 28 staff members. The best part of being an egg farmer, says Campbell, is that no two days are alike.
“In farming, you get to deal with all kinds of people,” he says, “whether that’s employees, suppliers, other stakeholders in the business. That’s my favourite part. One morning I can be in the office working out sales with grocery stores or talking to key stakeholders at a large grading company, and then in the afternoon, I’m on the farm getting my hands dirty.”
Campbell’s future goals include growing the business and eventually taking an ownership stake. The family has recently built a new pullet barn and are expanding their grading station, and a new barn is in the plans for the near future. The challenge, says Campbell, is finding the space to grow.
Located in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, the area has seen a lot of changes over the years, with urban subdivisions popping up in the mountainsides overlooking their farm. “There are hundreds—if not thousands—of houses that weren’t there 30 years ago. We’re kind of in this fishbowl, with all these urban areas encroaching on farm land.”
As a strong advocate for agriculture on the Island, Campbell is involved with several organizations, including the BC Agriculture Council, the Vancouver Island Egg Producers Association, the BC Egg Producers Association, and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council.Click here to see more...