A combined entrepreneurial life, business family and family business story book capturing the entrepreneurial journey of Joe Hudson, the Hudson family and Burnbrae Farms from the founding of the farm in 1891, through Joe Hudson starting laying hen operations in 1943, to Burnbrae evolving into the agri-business leader of national scope that it is today
When I brought home those 50 chickens as a young boy in 1943, I never would have thought that today, over 75 years later, our family farm would be transformed into an egg company of national reach. I am honoured by all the time taken to tell this story of our farm, our business, my life and our family.Joe Hudson
Chairman of Burnbrae Farms
The story of Burnbrae Farms is a story of ingenuity and value-driven family entrepreneurship. It is the story of 14-year-old Joe Hudson raising 50 hens on the family farm for a high school project in 1943, realizing its business potential, and, together with his father and brother, transitioning the family farm to egg laying operations. Building onto these foundations, it took vision, hard work, and entrepreneurial ingenuity to grow Burnbrae into an agri-business of national scope. The Burnbrae story is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional—it is a story of people and relationships, deeply embedded in the agricultural environment of the family farm and the local community of Lyn, Ontario. It is also a story of geographical expansion and diversification within a highly regulated environment defined by supply management. Under second-generation family leadership today, Burnbrae is an industry leader with a strong commitment to innovation, corporate social responsibility, and the local and broader community.
When the Hudson family commissioned us to assist them in the creation of their book, they were driven by the desire to capture and record the stories of key people who know both the family and the business from a wide range of perspectives. Their vision was for a book that would serve multiple purposes:
Over the course of several months, we conducted interviews with Joe Hudson, Hudson family members, employees past and present, business advisors and other internal and external stakeholders. Throughout the project, the manuscript kept growing, with Dr. Frisse and members of the Hudson family closely collaborating as co-originators and authors of the evolving work. While the main narrative captures the entrepreneurial life story of Joe Hudson and the evolution of Burnbrae Farms, a separate part of the book titled “A Family and a Farm Inextricably Linked” zooms in on family perspectives on the farm and the community. A separate chapter on Joe Hudson and the Burnbrae culture drills down on Joe’s foundational beliefs and entrepreneurial imperatives, which over the years became organizational values that keep defining the distinct Burnbrae family culture to this day. Hundreds of photographs and a highly branded design that incorporates the Burnbrae brand colours in the design of colour blocked pull out quotes, chapter intro spreads, graphic timelines, etc. create a visual consistency throughout, tying the various parts of the book together.