All it’s quacked up to be

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Duck farmer expects longevity in agriculture field

By Stephanie Rogers – Special to the Colchester Weekly News
BIBLE HILL, N.S. – Not the cry, but the flight of the duck, leads the flock to fly and follow… or so the old saying goes.

Josh Kelly, known by many as Duckie, understands the satisfaction of a hard, successful day’s work on the farm. Kelly is a fourth-generation duck farmer and student at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill. Submitted photo
Josh Kelly, known by many as Duckie, understands the satisfaction of a hard, successful day’s work on the farm. Kelly is a fourth-generation duck farmer and student at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill. Submitted photo
It’s a phrase that perhaps applies a bit more closely to Josh Kelly than many of his peers. Affectionately known as “Duckie” to his friends on the agricultural campus in Bible Hill, Kelly is a fourth-generation duck farmer.

“The name Duckie started in my first year,” he said. “Coming from a large duck farm in Ontario, it was a way for my peers to recognize me and has really given me an opportunity to leave my legacy within the school.”

The duck farm is King Cole Ducks Ltd. — the largest of its kind in Canada, producing about 2.5 million ducks annually for its line of ready-to-cook and fully cooked duck products.

“The only animals we raise on the farm are ducks and a bunch of rowdy kids growing up on the farm,” he said.

Born and raised in Queensville, Ont., the third-year agri-business student decided to come to school on the East Coast rather than staying closer-to-home at the University of Geulph.

“I didn’t believe I could succeed in the learning environment that the larger classes at Guelph provide,” he explained. “With the smaller class sizes at the AC you really gain a very good understanding of the information you are trying to retain and if you are struggling, professors are very good at making sure all of their students are properly taught.”

At Dal, Duckie has taken campus by storm. Living in residence all four years of his program, he became a natural at getting others involved in activities, from house challenges and Monday night hockey.

“I show the students that getting involved is fun and not just a job,” he said.

Duckie has now added residence assistant to his ever growing list of campus involvements.

“I’ve always been a leader,” Duckie said. “Building and maintaining personal relationships with others is the key to success as a leader.”

He credits his grandfather, who started his own farm when he was 20 years old, as a source of inspiration.

“Through hard work and being a great leader, he built the business to be the largest one of its kind in Canada.”

These leadership qualities are why his 2015 Impact Award came as no surprise to those around him. SAIL (Student Advancement in Leadership) Impact Student Leadership Awards recognize the dedication of the leadership students to their experiential learning and the sharing of their knowledge with others. He was awarded the Residence Student Leadership Award, presented to a student who has demonstrated significant leadership, commitment and spirit improving the quality of life for students in residence.

“Getting involved within the campus is most likely the top advice I give to new students entering AC,” he said. “I have tried to get involved as much as I can.”

And as for his plans after graduation in May, Duckie knows one thing for sure.

“A career in agriculture is a pretty simple choice for me. I grew up working on the farm and there is no better feeling than getting done a long day knowing you have completed your goal. If it’s raising animals or growing crops, after your day you know that you are not only helping yourself earn an income but also helping feed Canadians.

“Agriculture is one of the only industries that will always be around. You cannot stop growing food because people will always have to eat and to know that you are doing that is pretty amazing, if you ask me.”

Stephanie Rogers is the communications manager for the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture in Bible Hill.

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