Annapolis Valley egg hatchery to close at end of 2015

A long-time egg hatchery in the Annapolis Valley will close its doors at the end of this year. The hatchery is the focal point of Lone Pine Farm, founded in 1915.

Lone Pine Farm loses main buyer Atlantic Poultry, which is moving to other suppliers

For more than 60 years, the Lone Pine Farm egg hatchery near Berwick has been a major player in producing chicks that are shipped out to farms where they are grown for market. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The future of a family farm in the Annapolis Valley that's been operating since 1915 is up in the air now that its egg hatchery is scheduled to close at the end of December. 

For more than 60 years, the Lone Pine Farm hatchery near Berwick has been a major player in producing chicks that are shipped out to farms where they are grown for market. At its peak, the hatchery produced eight million chicks in a year. 

But as of Dec. 31, Lone Pine's main buyer, Atlantic Poultry Inc., will instead be purchasing from hatcheries in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Peter Clark, Lone Pine's hatchery operator, says his family — which has operated the farm for a century — is not surprised by the decision.

"They have to be as efficient as they can possibly be and I understand that," said Clark. "It's unfortunate that we can't be a part of it."

'It will obviously be missed'

The hatchery's closing puts the future of the farm in jeopardy, he says, and 10 full-time employees will lose their jobs at the hatchery.

"It's going to be a little sad because the activities have been going on around here for a long time," said Robert Clark, Peter Clark's father.

"It's sort of just been a part of our lives, so when it's gone it will obviously be missed."

Robert Clark has spent his entire life working in the egg hatchery business, having worked there for his own father in the 1960s. Peter Clark has worked on the farm for 27 years. 

"Change can be a good thing, it can be exciting, so we'll see what happens. I'm not ready to retire just yet, I guess," Robert Clark said. 

Another hatchery not affiliated with Lone Pine is expected to open soon near Hantsport. 

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