When the cost of owning a farm in Abbotsford, BC was too expensive for Diane and Mark Pastoor, they sold their cows to make their dreams come true near Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. Even though they hadn’t raised chickens before, they knew that with commitment and hard work, the new venture would be successful.
“We wanted to be able to provide a good life for our four children,” explains Diane. “We didn’t know anyone when we moved to Saskatchewan, but thought of it as an adventure and an opportunity to try something completely different.”
The Pastoors have 120,000 birds. They also grow their own whole wheat to supplement the chicken feed they buy. And, like many other farm families, they enjoy animals and have had a lot of other livestock and pets over the years: horses, goats, dogs and even guinea pigs.
“I think it’s important for consumers to know that farming is a business, but farmers are stewards of the land and animals. We care very much about the health of all our animals. We also care a great deal about producing a healthy protein in a healthy way for people to eat. Being a mom, I always want to buy nutritious food and know what goes into producing food.”
Pastoor also emphasizes how growing up on a farm has been such a positive influence on the lives of her children.
“Kids can take ownership in taking care of another living being. There’s joy in growing something and seeing results from all your work.”
Being a farmer also comes with tremendous responsibilities.
“We follow biosecurity standards to the ‘T’,” says Pastoor. We know how important it is for our chickens to have constant access to clean water and good feed and good quality air. Another key is keeping our chickens calm. We also don’t have random people coming into our barns to make sure the chickens aren’t exposed to disease.”
And what’s Diane Pastoor’s favourite food?
“Chicken wings,” was her response. “Our family loves the food we produce best of all.”