Alan & Nicola Irving
In July 2005, our family made the move from the UK to start a new life here in Alberta, Canada.
Alan was brought up on a farm in Cumbria, England, and had worked in Agriculture since he left school. He worked for his last employer, Stampers Haulage, for 16 years, doing livestock and general haulage, and more recently as a dispatcher for farm inputs.
Nicola was brought up in a military family. After graduation, she earned a Degree in Agriculture, and pursued an 11 year career with Carrs Billington Agriculture in various positions including Animal Feed Sales, Commodity Trading and Customer Service.
We moved to Alberta, Canada, knowing that we would like to operate our own business, but had no idea it would involve pigs and pork products. We realised that many of the British pork products we had come to love in England, were not available here in Alberta.
A few of our Berkshire Weaners
We began the job of investigating potential markets, and the requirements for setting up an approved food processing facility. Six months of hard work followed, and in June 2006 we were issued a food permit and began producing our first sausages in a small commercial kitchen in our basement.
A few months later we purchased a batch of Berkshire feeder pigs. We had never raised pigs before and the learning curve was steep, but we came to love working with these curious and intelligent animals. In 2007 we invested in some breeding stock and begun breeding our own pigs.
Little did we know what we had got into - the next two years were a whirlwind of growth and product development, and we realised that we had to expand. We needed two things – a bigger commercial kitchen, and more pasture land for our ever expanding herd of pigs, and so we set about the task of finding our new home.
In September 2008, we moved our farm, our business, and our home to Round Hill, Alberta. We are not sure what the neighbours thought – an English family, with funny looking Black pigs, making sausages that were neither smoked nor full of garlic! I think that after about twelve months they realised that we are just a decent hard working family, trying to make a living doing something just a little bit different from what is considered normal! It will still probably take us decades to be considered as locals! Hands together for Round Hill though, it is a great little community!