Eggs have been an important part of the Harman family for over 80 years. Bert was born to Walter and Olive Harman in the fall of 1947 in Prince Albert, SK. Walter had a hobby chicken farm in their back yard, and after being laid off at the local box factory in the 1940’s, he made the decision to expand his hobby into a full-time career. Bert grew up assisting his father in producing and supplying eggs to the local market.
In 1965, Bert officially became an Egg Man. During his grade 12 year, he decided to pursue a career in the egg industry with his father. The day after graduation was his first full-time day on the job. Bert was excited about the opportunities available in the industry and growth became his driving force.
Land was purchased just north of their home and barns were built to house their growing production and grading operation. Operations were mechanized, enabling them to grade 5,000 boxes per year. In the early ‘70s, the layer operation was increased from 7,000 birds to 35,000 laying hens and 15,000 replacement pullets.
In 1978, Bert saw an opportunity to expand into the wholesale industry by marketing table eggs, and purchased a Saskatchewan grading company called Star Egg Co. Ltd. All grading functions were transferred from Prince Albert to Saskatoon. Over the years there have been many changes within the company. One significant change was the upgrade in 1987 to the Diamond 8200, one of the country’s first state of the art egg grading systems. This was the last innovation Walter got to see, as he passed away shortly after the project was completed.
Today, the company that started as a small hobby farm now has three laying hen operations, one in Prince Albert, one in Humboldt, and the third in Steinbach, Manitoba. As well, in 2008 their Saskatoon grading facility, Star Egg, was relocated to a larger facility featuring many new innovations which continues to serve over 85% of Saskatchewan producers.
Bert has always been a strong supporter of the Saskatchewan Egg Industry, placing an emphasis on producer interests. Bert has served on the SEP board over several terms: as Director from 1974 to 1981; and as Chairman and Vice-Chair from 1993 to 1999, and again from 2000 to 2012. He was also the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) representative from 1997 to 1999 and has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council (CPEPC) since 1990.
Being involved with family and the community has also been a priority for Bert. He has held positions with several charitable organizations and other industry related associations. In the fall of 2012, Star Egg Co. Ltd. was presented with the Family Enterprise of the Year award by the Canadian Association of Family Enterprises.
Bert’s many accomplishments over the past 48 years are too numerous to name, however one of the most rewarding is being involved in the successful negotiations with EFC to increase quota within the Province of Saskatchewan. Bert is proud to be a Saskatchewan producer and is passionate about protecting Saskatchewan interests within the Country.
Bert has had the support of his wife, Darlene, for 43 years. Together they have three children and six grandchildren. The desire to carry on the family business is now passing onto the third generation, with his daughter, Dana, and son, Shawn, actively leading the company into the future. One could say eggs are in the blood of the Harman family!