By Connor Lynch
ELORA — Their success couldn’t have come at a better time. Having just recently been selected for the Egg Farmers of Ontario’s 2015 New Entrant Quota Loan Pool, Andrew and Lindsay Elgersma, of Elora, will also be among the first to benefit from a loosening of a condition on the interest-free quota loan.
Previously, the loan, which lends up to 10,000 units of quota, required that you already own quota, the right to produce eggs. Not any more.
You can be truly green to the business. For the Elgersmas, who will get 5,000 quota units (worth almost $1.5 million), the change couldn’t have come at a better time. The plan was to purchase his family’s 80-acre beef farm, but it had a condition: “that purchase was contingent on being selected” for quota. With the quota loan and the easier conditions, “we know we’ll be able to generate revenue,” Andrew Elgersma said.
Egg farming is not easy to get into. You’re looking at $750,000 in quota, not to mention $600,000 to $700,000 for your facilities that includes the barn, cages, conveying, and other equipment, Elgersma said. They have 10 years before they start paying off the loan.
Elgersma recommends that for anyone interested in egg farming, settle in for the long haul. “Put together a solid, long-term plan. Give yourself that comfort zone.”
Brent and Kim Grainger of Zurich will also receive 5,000 units of quota to get started this year. Without the quota loan, “(egg producing) wasn’t viable. We couldn’t make things go,” Brent Grainger said.
Grainger was raised on a beef farm, and currently has his own beef farm, in addition to cropping wheat, soybeans, corn, and hay. The egg farming is probably going to supplement his current operation. “Lot of things up in the air. We have to see if we can handle it all,” he said.
For now, the Graingers are still in the planning stages. “We don’t even have a barn yet. We expect a fairly steep learning curve.”
Although just the application itself “requires a lot of research and time,” Grainger said there is a lot of support. “Industry people are very willing to help you along. (There’s a) large pool of knowledge.”
The five-year-old quota-loan and entry program has now had eight recipients