Benlo Enterprises Ltd.
Brothers, Jerry & Scott, with their wives Caroline & Colleen, own and run Benlo Enterprises Ltd on the Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford. ‘Benlo’ is named after the founders, Ben & Lois Doerksen, Scott & Jerry’s parents. Ben started out as a dairy farmer and was also in agricultural construction; Scott & Jerry took over the family farm from him in 2000 and have been delivering their hogs to Johnston’s since 2007.
Their first hog barn was built in 1979, by their father, for finishing pigs and that was the beginning of three decades of raising hogs for this Abbotsford family. Within a few years, they built more barns and moved from a finishing facility to a full, farrow to finish operation. In 1990, they had 250 sows, today their operation includes 600 sows and they send approximately 11,500 hogs to market every year.
Jerry & Scott both started working on the farm by the time they were fourteen years old. For Jerry, that meant he started work when they had a finishing-only farm and by the time he was eighteen and working full-time on the farm a farrowing barn had been built and they were a full farrow to finish facility. Scott also worked on the farm through high school and became full-time when he was eighteen at the time when they grew the farm to house 600 sows. Both Jerry & Scott have seen the farm their father build grow to what it is today and are proud to carry on the legacy of hard work and dedication to providing quality food products.
The Doerksen’s, like many BC pork producers, are involved in every stage of their farm from milling their own feed, caring for all of their animals and transporting the hogs they have carefully raised to market.
A hog operation works on a weekly cycle and they run 365 days a year, not leaving much time for the Doerksen family to have time away from the farm. But, due to the modernization of some farm methods and the reliability of automated feeding systems they have found a balance. After doing a walk-through each morning on the weekends to ensure the animals are fine, they try to take the remainder of weekends off in order that they can spend time with their young families. Farming does offer the flexibility of being at home and at work at the same location and so enables Scott & Jerry, who each have three children – Ethan, Lauren & Anika and Julie, Jennifer & Colin – to spend time with their families.
As in all things, hog farming has its challenges and in Scott’s words “BC is an expensive place to grow a pig”. It is. Land, feed and other costs are much higher in BC than other regions, but the Doerksen’s are committed to their lifestyle and to growing high quality, safe food close to home for fellow British Columbians.