Keith Colborn

2003

Born on the farm, four miles north of Delisle, Sask., on Nov. 26th, 1924 to Harry and Reta Colborn, Keith Henry Colborn would spend the next 65 years of his life on that same farm. He attended a small country school, walking 1½ miles each morning.

 

It was at this time, during the dirty thirties and in the depth of the depression, that poultry became part of the Colborn farm. Keith’s dad, Harry, decided something had to be done so he cashed in what was left of his life insurance, bought 100 Barred Rock chickens, a wood burning brooder stove and a radio. He fixed up one granary as a brooder house and by fall had about 50 pullets ready to lay as well as some roosters to kill for meat.

 

This was in 1936 and that year the Government had a plan where they would pay a farmer $5.00 a month toward his wages. A close neighbor of the Colborns had three sons, all unemployed so an agreement was made for one of the sons, Walter, to come over and work and in return he could have the $10.00. So Harry and Walter went to work, and with some scrap lumber, built a pen in the corner of the barn loft that would house 50 hens. It turned out quite well so the next year it was expanded to house 250 breeder hens to supply hatching eggs to Early Hatcheries. Over the years the flock continued to expand, selling hatchery eggs in the winter and any surplus was graded and sold to the O.K. Economy Store. Keith was there all the time and learned the poultry business pretty well.

 

After attending the University of Saskatchewan, Keith received his Diploma in Agriculture in 1948. He came back to the farm and formed a partnership with his dad. In 1951, Keith married Norma Shockey, a local woman from the Vanscoy District, whom he had know all his life. Norma learned the egg business quickly and was soon candling and selling eggs.  She soon became known as the “Egg Lady” and still is today.

 

In the mid fifties, Harry Colborn retired and Keith and his brother Clifford took over the farm. In 1960 they decided to drop the hatching egg business and began producing white eggs only for the commercial market. Over the years the farm continued to expand. It is now known as Colborn Farms Limited, owned and operated by Keith, Clifford and their sons. They have three fairly large enterprises of grain, cattle and poultry.

 

During the sixties, egg prices were very unstable. It was at this time that Keith became interested in the Saskatchewan Poultry Association. He was elected to the Board of Directors and became active in the campaign for an Egg Board that would foster supply management in the Province. The vote result was favorable and a Board was organized with Keith being one of the Provincial Directors. The following year an election was held and Keith became a Director. During his time on the Board, the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency was formed, making “Supply Management” nation wide. A number of problems had to be ironed out and it was after a Federal Provincial Agreement was signed that the situation improved. Keith was one of the signatories from Saskatchewan that signed the agreement.

 

Over the years Keith has been active in local projects. In the mid fifties he was one of the many who helped in organizing the local Credit Union. He was elected to the Board and was President for a number of years. In 1967, as Chairman of the Local Recreation Board, he was involved in starting construction of the Centennial Rink in Delisle.

 

Keith and Norma are now retired and live in the town of Delisle. Their two sons, Ken and Ron, live on the farm and their daughter, Donna, teaches High School in Red Deer, Alberta. As senior citizens, they are active in the local Seniors Club.  They like to travel and dance.  Most of all, they enjoy watching the activities of their eight grandchildren whether it be hockey, basketball, rodeo or Ti Kwon Do.