Meet the Farmer

Scroll Down

Meet the Farmer
Back to Meet the Farmers

Darren Ference

Darren Ference

A passionate poultry farmer, enthusiastic leader and community advocate, Darren Ference leads by example, raising the poultry sector’s profile through community outreach and education.

As Turkey Farmers of Canada Board of Directors Chair and Alberta Turkey Producers Director, Ference believes trust between Canadian consumers and the agriculture industry is built on a foundational understanding of where our food comes from and the farming practices that go into putting food on the table. This belief has come to define his personal approach to farming, work within his community and broader advocacy initiatives. By educating his community about turkey farming, Ference hopes to build support, combat misinformation and continue to promote made-in-Canada food.

Ference’s zest for educating Canadians about farming started when he began working closely with animal science professor, Frank Robinson, at the University of Alberta, to train agricultural students through the school’s mentorship program. More recently, Ference started to teach youth at a neighbouring elementary school, Altario School, about agriculture and turkey farming — donating a miniature turkey barn to their Ag Learning Centre to help bring the lessons to life. The small-scale barn houses 40 turkeys for full production cycles, mimics a commercial barn and provides first-hand farming experiences to the students. Eventually, turkeys raised at the Ag Learning Center are donated to the local community food bank, providing students with an immersive farm-to-table experience.

“I’ve always felt strongly that Canadians should understand the processes that are involved in food production, and have an appreciation for the work farmers do, the land that they help maintain and the animals that they take care of,” says Ference. “By educating students of all ages about Canada’s agricultural industry, we are teaching them to be passionate about the quality of their food, to advocate for animal welfare and realize the importance of maintaining a sustainable, domestic food system, ultimately benefiting the future of the industry and our communities.”

Ference upholds the same values and commitment to leadership, innovation and sector advancement on his own farm too, where sustainability and the modernization of farming remain at the forefront. Ference’s farm, Raeyson’s Poultry, is highly innovative, using the latest in automation for feeding, watering and environmental control across two of his three barns, which produce approximately 700,000 kilograms of turkey a year. A reverse osmosis system also treats water for all the barns, the family’s wheat supply is used in the turkey feed, and canola straw is used as bedding. Meanwhile, Ference plans to bring his third barn up to speed in the future, to increase energy efficiency and lower overall costs.

At the heart of Ferrence’s investment in on-farm innovation and his local community is the stability provided by the system of supply management.

“Because of supply management, my fellow turkey farmers and I are able to plan our production cycles guaranteeing a steady supply of fresh, local, high-quality turkey year-round to meet consumer demand while earning a fair return in the process so we can continue reinvesting in the sustainability of our farms while contributing to the vibrancy of our communities. It’s a win-win situation.”

Dedicated to promoting research, knowledge sharing, efficiencies and consumer awareness, Turkey Farmers of Canada continues to strive to build a better future for Canadian farming through education and grassroots initiatives. Meanwhile, leaders like Darren Ference continue to champion a brighter future thanks to their ongoing commitment to Canada’s agricultural industry and contribution to the well-being of farmers, processors and the community.