“Well we’ve had a fair journey to get here” begins Ray. Out in beautiful Abbotsford, British-Columbia, resides Ray Nickel and his family. Not only do they live in one of the most gorgeous places in Canada, they are also lucky enough to call their farm a home. Ray is a third-generation farmer and although he did not always plan to take over the family farm, agriculture always felt like a natural fit to him. His wife Linda was a bit more reluctant to the idea of farm life. “It was a very large learning curve […] but it becomes a lifestyle” she laughs. Years later, the two have made a wonderful life on a farm with their three kids Luke, Lexi and Noah.
Family is very important to the Nickels, a vital and core part of their lives. Not only do they enjoy spending time together, but they also enjoy working together. All members of the family, at one time or another, help out on the farm. Although not all of them have stayed in agriculture, they all have credited farming for giving them the skills they need to succeed in their day-to-day lives. “You learn to work together, and laugh together, and you always have to cover each other’s back on the farm […] I think that is where we became a really close-knit family” explains eldest son Luke.
Luke is a poultry veterinarian, (partner with Poultry Health Services) which has opened his eyes to another side of raising chickens. “There is a lot of thought process behind [the] decisions we are trying to make or ways to be more preventative,” he explains. “It’s a lot of fun to be working with a group of people who really care about the animals, the industry [and] providing good, safe food to consumers”
Just like family is a core value to Ray, so is collaboration. Ray credits supply management as a driver that encourages collaboration between farmers. “When you don’t have the controversy of potentially competing with your neighbour […] we can work cooperatively together.” This really became evident during the last Avian Influenza crisis that hit British-Columbia in 2014. Without supply management, collaboration and coming together during this difficult time it could have resulted in a very different outcome. “[Thanks to] supply management, you can implement programs almost immediately with the assurance that there is compliance in how it’s being done and dealt with,” he explains.
FUN FACTS ABOUT RAY