Operations Manager | Vernla Livestock, Fergus, ON
Founded in 1980, Vernla Livestock Inc. has been transporting animals safely and humanely for over 40 years, making thousands of shipments each year within, out of, and into Ontario. With 35 trucks and over 40 employees, Vernla ships livestock as far west as Alberta, and as far south as the Carolinas. That much transportation, Marlon Bauman says, takes a commitment to safety and well-being for both the animals and the drivers.
Marlon is clear on his view of the role Vernla plays in the Ontario agriculture industry. “The producer raises an excellent product and they rely on us as transporters to get that product to market – to put pork on your fork. It’s important that we work together to get these animals humanely transported and take care of them to meet the high quality standards expected within the industry.”
Vernla’s fleet management system monitors their vehicles’ location throughout their trips. Diagnostic sensors in the trucks also monitor for speed, distraction, and even fuel efficiency, ensuring that they operate as efficiently as possible. But ultimately, Vernla’s business depends on the welfare of the animals they carry. Recent improvements in trailer design have improved well-being and reduced stress for the animals they transport. Features introduced in recent years include hydraulic lifts, which cause fewer injuries and less stress when loading animals than ramps, and better ventilation in the trailers.
Drivers remain an important part of the animals’ well-being, even as technology advances. “Drivers have to love and care for the animals they’re moving,” says Marlon. “They need to be in tune with what the animals need. Technology makes it easier to do their jobs, but the driver’s skill and care is still a major factor.” That commitment and professionalism is clear throughout Vernla’s operations, but Martin believes these standards are evident across the Ontario livestock transportation industry. “In Ontario, most drivers have taken the TQA Livestock Transportation Training. That’s a course they go through to learn how to handle animals carefully and humanely. Another thing the industry has done as well in the last few years is invest in new equipment to minimize the stress when loading and unloading these animals.”
One thing Marlon would like to promote to consumers and community members is the importance of giving livestock transport vehicles plenty of space on the road. “We need more room to stop. For livestock, we have a live load on. It’s of utmost concern that we get the animals delivered without bruising. Hard stops for hogs and cattle risk potential damage… We need extra space and do not want to jam up the breaks, so please give us the space that we need to stop.”
Marlon loves pork ribs and counts 3-2-1 Smoked Ribs among his favourite Ontario Pork recipes. Just be sure to choose local pork when you give it a try!
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CONNECTIONS, TRUST, AND LOCAL FOOD.
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