Producer Services Team Leader | Conestoga Meats, Breslau, ON
City-born, but a true ag natural, Justine Parkinson is the producer services team leader at Conestoga Meats, a farmer-owned meat packing co-op. She has been with Conestoga for just over three years, and was recently promoted to team lead, working directly with local pork producers.
“I never thought a career in agriculture was in my future, but I fell in love and I never looked back,” shares Justine. “So, I pursued an undergraduate degree in animal biology, as well as a masters degree. Once again, I got a taste for agriculture. I began milking cows, I worked on a donkey farm, I worked on a horse farm, I worked on a mink farm, I worked on a pig farm, and ended up back in pigs – it was my favourite of all of them.”
Committed to honing her expertise in all aspects of the local food supply chain, Justine was thrilled to join Conestoga Meats. “I decided to pursue a career in processing because it’s something I’ve always found very interesting. I started out in the feed industry, running the roads, walking barns, auditing producer’s farms, looking at things like animal welfare and it was nice to go from the beginning product to the end product. I was very interested in learning the other side of the business.”
Justine has embraced the full spectrum of potential and experiences a career in agriculture affords. She’s the co-chair of the Royal Junior Swine Show and The Bacon Maker Classic for the Ontario Pork Congress and really enjoys exploring new opportunities to engage with the community. “I really like the Ontario pork industry and working with producers because we are such a supportive, well-connected group. I really fell in love with the industry and working with producers and being able to run industry shows. I wanted to stay connected.”
When it comes to connecting over food, Justine shares that of all the ways to prepare pork, her vote is always for burnt ends on the smoker.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS, TRUST, AND LOCAL FOOD.
Meet the people behind the Ontario food supply chain.