Clarence & Pat Nywening
By Resi Walt
It was a chance sighting of an advertisement in a local newspaper that gave Clarence Nywening and his wife Pat the opportunity to return to their farming roots.
Clarence was raised on a beef farm and Pat on a dairy farm. But, after marrying, they had moved away from the farm and on to a different business ventures. However, Clarence said, “It was always my dream to go back to farming.”
In the early days of their marriage they owned a cleaning business, cleaning churches, houses and offices. One day, while cleaning at an office building, they noticed an ad in a newspaper for a farm that was for sale. They knew instantly it was where they wanted to be.
In 2015, Clarence appears in the tenth anniversary edition of the Faces of Farming calendar, published by Farm & Food Care Ontario. His page is sponsored by the Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Producers’ Association and he is featured for the month of September. Clarence and his wife are broiler breeders, farming in Thamesville, Ontario.
In 1995, Clarence and Pat bought their first farm in Listowel – the one they saw in the ad – and they stayed on this farm for a couple years. However, at this time, the industry was evolving, with new policy and regulations coming into place. Clarence and Pat realized that their Listowel farm could not support the changes that needed to be made in order to meet industry standards.
The Nywenings were able to find a more suitable farm in Thamesville. The new farm would be able to adapt according to the changing industry. Pat and Clarence moved to this farm and have been happy there ever since.
Clarence and Pat’s farm specializes in broiler breeders, which are hens – as well as the roosters – who lay fertilized eggs that will hatch into chickens raised for meat.
There are two different parts to Clarence and Pat’s farm. The first part of the farm is the barn where the birds arrive at one day of age. The birds stay at this barn to be raised until they are 20 weeks old. At that point, they move to layer barns when they start laying eggs. All the fertilized eggs are then sent to a hatchery. Once the eggs are hatched, the young birds are sent to broiler farms (chickens raised for meat) throughout Ontario.
Health is a top priority on Clarence and Pat’s farm. The birds are monitored constantly, in order to ensure each bird is getting what they need. The proper lighting, ventilation, temperature and access to quality feed and clean water are all important aspects of their environment.
Clarence adds that the healthiness of the roosters is vital to the success of the breeding at their farm. Hens are loyal to particular roosters, and if a rooster becomes too aggressive, the entire flock will suffer. “Roosters are extremely important to the flock and farmers should always pay close attention to them,” said Clarence.
Together, the couple have five children (Sara, Becky, Philip, Kristen and Cassandra), plus their children’s partners. Both Philip and Kristen work on the farm with their parents. Clarence says, “Farming is a great family life. Our children grew up on the farm and it was the best thing for them.” Pat and Clarence are also proud grandparents to five grandchildren.
The Nywenings also grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. The corn grown is used for feed for the chickens. Straw from the wheat gets a new life as bedding for the chicken barns and the soybeans are sold.
With their kids grown up and taking increasing levels of responsibility on the farm, Clarence is able to spend more time off the farm. For the last decade, he’s been involved with the Christian Farmers’ Federation of Ontario (CFFO) and now holds the role of Vice President on the executive of the organization. Part of his role with this organization is to advocate for the farmers he is representing. It is important for Clarence to gather farmers’ thoughts and suggestions as well as to get diverse opinions on important topics that the CFFFO works on.
As a farmer, Nywening equally enjoys time with his animals and time spent on his land. He likes that he is his own boss and enjoys the challenge that comes from making business decisions on a daily basis. It is a rewarding lifestyle – one that he believes he was always meant for.
To learn more about Clarence and Pat, visit http://www.farmfoodcare.org/calendar-videos/2015/september.php.