The Van de Vis Eierspecialist farm is located around the corner from the Moba head office in Voorthuizen. This family business grades the eggs of their 73,000 laying hens daily with the help of Moba machines. We speak with Marjan van de Vis, co-owner of the company, about the ins and outs of an egg packing station, working in the poultry sector as a woman and the importance of promoting the egg.
It kept gnawing at me and my husband whether the poultry sector was maybe something for us too. When a laying poultry farm became available for rent in the area, we decided to go for the adventure.
"I didn't expect to ever become a farmer. Before that I worked at a wholesale of clothing", Marjan enthusiastically starts with her story about why she is now dealing with thousands of eggs every day. Her husband Evert-Jan's grandparents started their poultry farm in 1957. Grading eggs wasn’t part of the business until 2007 when Marjan and her husband decided to take the plunge. "It kept gnawing at me and my husband whether the poultry sector was maybe something for us too. When a laying poultry farm became available for rent in the area, we decided to go for the adventure." But the outdated grading machine caused a bit of stress. "It was the same question every day — will it continue to run properly? We work with a tight schedule and without staff, so if the machine has malfunctions, everything can go wrong."
The next step with the help of Moba
Despite the challenges with the equipment, the new adventure in the egg industry proved to be the right choice. "The work is fantastic. It is very varied, because we handle the entire process, from grading to delivering the eggs to our customers and marketing our products. We removed a few links from the traditional chain so that we have more control."
In 2011, they decided to build a brand new egg packing station at the family business, now under the management of her in-laws. And they were very clear about one thing: not just a new building, but also a new machine. "And we also knew which door we were going to knock on. If you say egg grading machine, then you are, of course, referring to Moba." They eventually chose the Moba2500. “That machine was amazing! The most important thing is that you can count on your equipment. That is why we chose Moba, a company known for its reliable, high-quality machines."
We are very satisfied with our new machine. The eggs are checked by various detection systems so that our customers can count on high-quality eggs. And in this way, we can work more efficiently and thus save on expensive labor.
"Everyone has their own tasks within the company, but we can always take over or assist each other where necessary. For example, my parents-in-law are mainly concerned with the ins and outs of the farm and my husband and I focus more on the egg packing station. That is how we work together in a great way."
The business continued to grow, with about 420,000 eggs being graded every week, so it was time for a new machine. Perfect timing, as Moba had just introduced the Forta GT100. "It was an exciting process, because it was a new machine for both us and Moba. We were even the first to operate the Forta with all possible options, including all detection systems." The machine was installed from March 5 to 6, 2020. At a rapid pace, so that production and orders could continue as usual. "We are very satisfied with our new machine. The eggs are checked by various detection systems so that our customers can count on high-quality eggs. And in this way, we can work more efficiently and thus save on expensive labor. Plus, if our needs change in the future or if we continue to grow as a company, the Forta can grow along with us. We now only grade our own eggs that come directly from the sheds onto the machine, but with the expansion of a loader we would also be more inclined to buy eggs. And an additional advantage is that the Moba head office is around the corner. If there are any problems with the machine, the Moba service team will be with us within minutes."
The poultry sector is a man's world, but according to Marjan also a great place for women. "I think it was an advantage that I didn’t come from this world. My husband grew up with it and has contributed to the farm from an early age. I came in as an outsider, but with a fresh perspective and my own ideas. And I have to say that it works out perfectly in practice; my husband and I complement each other well. If he is not there, I can also keep the business running. I know the processes, I can operate the machine and know what needs to be done every day to make sure that our customers can enjoy our fresh eggs at the end of the afternoon. Due to robotization and automation, the work in the poultry sector has become physically less demanding for women. And an additional advantage is that customers often help me with unloading, where my husband and our employee Theo simply have to do the heavy lifting themselves," Marjan jokes.
Marjan has joined mmmEggies, a group of female laying poultry farmers that promotes the Dutch egg. Wearing bright pink blouses, the ladies travel throughout the Netherlands. "We think it is important to show the positive sides of the laying poultry sector, especially in these times. We do this, for example, by attending fairs and handing out pink boiled eggs at events and through social media. Together, we join forces to engage with consumers. They may be drops in the ocean, but we can improve the image of the egg and show consumers the importance of the egg. We can also learn a lot from each other. Everything is done voluntarily and we are financially supported for our activities and materials by fellow laying poultry farmers and companies in the sector. The poultry sector is one to be proud of and I certainly encourage initiatives such as mmmEggies abroad."
We recently invested in 1,112 solar panels on our roofs to be self-sufficient in energy. And we also want to innovate with our products, such as with our new brand ‘Vleit,’ which stands for farm-fresh free-range eggs
Ready to face the future
A hectic period is coming for Van de Vis Eierspecialist with the Easter days, the holidays when people enjoy eating eggs. "That is certainly noticeable, because around that time we are very busy. And not only with the normal eggs, but also with the sale of colored eggs. Because of Covid-19, these are very strange times. We hope that we can visit the family again soon to enjoy eating a fresh egg together."
Van de Vis Eierspecialist is ready for the future with the Forta and Marjan's hands are itching to take the company to the next level. "We love to innovate. By using the latest techniques, but also by making it more sustainable. For example, we recently invested in 1,112 solar panels on our roofs to be self-sufficient in energy. And we also want to innovate with our products, such as with our new brand ‘Vleit,’ which stands for farm-fresh free-range eggs."
Marjan is happy with the Moba grading machine and enjoys sharing her experiences: "Because our farm is located so close to the head office, many Moba customers from all over the world have visited us to see how our machines run. That is nice, because it gives us the opportunity to share knowledge with people from our sector and we get a good idea of what things are like in other countries. These organized customer visits always result in unique and educational conversations, that is why we always make time for them when possible. There is still so much to learn."