Andreas Elias – A passion for animal care
Coming from a mixed grain and livestock farm in Southern Manitoba, Andrea Elias always gravitated to working with her family’s cattle and pig herd. Indeed, caring for animals was an early passion, and one she turned into a successful career. “I went to Lakeland College in Alberta to be an Animal Health Technician – what people also call a Veterinary Technician. It was a natural progression for me because taking care of animals was always my favorite part of farming,” says Elias. “My absolute favorite part is farrowing — looking after the pregnant sows and piglets.” Elias currently works as a manager at a Manitoba pig farm about 100 kilometres away from where she grew up. She had previously spent time in a variety of other positions within the livestock sector, generally working directly with animals, and is a district advisor for Manitoba Pork — the organization representing pig farmers in her province. She is also a teacher. “Educating our younger generation about the swine industry is another passion of mine,” says Elias. “I have taught an annual class for University of Manitoba agriculture students, shared information during a couple of virtual 4-H meetings, and participated in making a video for the Agriculture in the Classroom program on YouTube.” While the animals are the primary draw and driver of Elias’s work, she also appreciates her colleagues in the pork business. When not at work, she raises a small laying hen flock, pets, and two children, with her husband on a small rural acreage. “Manitoba’s pork sector is a really big business, but it’s still very personal. Every day is a little bit different. There’s always something interesting happening,” she says.