D & E Pork Inc.
D & E Pork Inc.
Patrick & Lisa (Deveau) Murray (both Class of ’09)
From the moment he was able to walk, the only thing Patrick Murray wanted to do was go to the barn with his father.
From raising hogs to harvesting potatoes and all of the hard work in between, Patrick Murray (Class of ’09) enjoys it all. Growing up as the second oldest in a family of five, Patrick has always maintained a love for his family and the farm. He and his wife, Lisa (Class of ’09), work on the farm and for them, there is no better place to raise their family.
Located in Albany, PEI, the Murray’s farm, D & E Pork Inc., specializes in hog and potato farming. With 1,250 sow and many acres of crop land, D & E Pork Inc. consider themselves a mixed farming operation, something that sets them apart from most of the other hog farms on the island.
“We grow a variety of crops including corn, barley, wheat and processing potatoes,” Lisa explains. “Our farrow to finish operation and the crops go hand-in-hand with each other which make us unique from other hog farms. Without the two, our farm would likely be a lot less cost efficient.”
D & E Pork Inc. was established in 1982 by Patrick’s father, Dale. Moving back to PEI from Ontario, Dale decided to begin raising a few hogs. Dale’s wife, Earlene worked full-time but helped out on the small farming operation whenever she could. Over time, the farm expanded and gradually increased until it became a farrow to finish operation. When a tragic farming accident took the life of Dale’s brother, Dale purchased the potato farm that his brother had owned and operated. With the help of his wife and five children, they turned his small hog farm into a full-time hog and potato operation.
“We currently have 12 full-time workers, two part-time and five seasonal workers,” Lisa explains. “We raise the hogs from birth as piglets until they are large enough for the market. In the fall when we harvest the potatoes the majority are stored in a warehouse until they are shipped out.”
Patrick met his wife Lisa during his time at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (now Dalhousie Agricultural Campus). Shortly after graduating, both with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Agricultural Business, Patrick and Lisa moved back to Albany, PEI to start their family. Lisa joined Patrick’s mother working in the office of the farm. Lisa and Earlene maintain the records for the sows, conduct the payroll and distribute and pay bills- all things that are very important to any farming operation. Patrick joined his father working on the farm, caring for the hogs, maintaining the crops and other farming duties.
“The opportunity to join my father on the farm was right in front of me as soon as I graduated from the NSAC,” Patrick explains. “I grabbed it right away and not once have I second guessed my decision. It was a no-brainer for Lisa and I.”
Like any farm, there is no such thing as a typical day. Although the hogs are fed every morning by an automated system, Patrick and Dale head to the barn around 5 a.m. to check on the feed systems and make sure everything is working properly. Duties after that could range from being in the barn caring for the animals or being in the field caring for the crops. May and October are their busiest times of the year with getting the crops in the ground and harvesting in the fall.
“You typically won’t expect to see Dale or Patrick in for lunch or supper during those busy times,” Lisa explains. “If you’d like to see them, you’d better head on out to the field and hop in the tractor for a few rounds!”
As a family farm, D & E Pork Inc. is very considerate of the surrounding community. They strive to maintain a peaceful presence and try not to disturb their neighbors.
“We try to pay great attention to our neighbors,” Patrick explains. “We make sure to work in the manure as soon as we spread it to reduce the smell when possible. We hope that taking these precautions will help us to maintain a healthy relationship with our community and neighbors. It’s important to us for them to see that we care.”
It’s not hard to tell that Patrick and Lisa truly value their family. Although Patrick has four other siblings, he is the only one who still works on the farm. Growing up, all of the Murray’s pitched in a great deal but have since moved on and have pursued other careers. Patrick’s eldest sister Amanda lives in Alberta with her husband and two children where she is a teacher. Patrick’s brother Nathan, (Class of ’11) lives in Regina where he works for Farm Credit Canada. His other sister, Kaitlin, has recently accepted a job as a registered nurse at Prince Country Hospital in Summerside, PEI and Patrick’s youngest sister, Whitney, is entering her second year at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Patrick feels very fortunate to have been born and raised on the family farm. He knows the importance of hard work, determination and working together with your family. Although the farming lifestyle has many ups and downs and is not always easy, the benefits and satisfaction of working on the farm with his family make it worthwhile.
“It’s definitely challenging to never know what the markets are going to do or if the weather is going to affect the crop this year,” Patrick says. “But waking up every morning knowing that you are going to be doing what you love makes it totally worth it.”
Both Patrick and Lisa take pride in what Patrick’s father established for their family. Knowing that he took the first step on his own and worked hard to provide for his family fills them with a sense of pride. Now it is Patrick’s turn to work hard and raise a family, teaching them the values and importance of hard work and working with your family. As the arrival of their second child draws near, it is an understatement to say that working on their family hog and potato farm, Patrick and Lisa Murray are happier than pigs in mud.