Lovholm Holsteins near Balgonie, Sask., is a labour of love for Lakeland College alumni Michael and Jessica Lovich.
With both born into dairy farming families, Michael in Cherhill and Jessica in Ponoka, Alta., a love for the industry is in their blood and something they are hoping to pass on to their three young daughters and future generations.
“Lakeland was an easy choice for us. For Michael, he was the third generation of his family to attend Lakeland. I was the first in mine, but I was really interested in the program and didn’t want to be too far from home,” Jessica explains.
“It was such a good mixture of everything,” Michael says. “I chose Lakeland because they had the livestock production program and dairy as well, and I really enjoyed it.”
After graduating, Michael returned to farm with his family while Jessica travelled, and they married in 2007. They eventually purchased the dairy farm they currently run in Balgonie where they are busy raising their daughters while caring for a herd of 72 purebred Holsteins.
They’ve found success on their farm. In 2018, they were one of three finalists nominated for Saskatchewan’s Outstanding Young Farmers, and they’re nominated this year as well.
Next generation of hands-on learning
Their children, Renelle, nine, Raelyn, six, and Reata, 11, are involved in the day-to-day operation of the farm, which Jessica explains is essential to ensuring there is enough time outside of chores for family time. It’s akin to her own upbringing.
“They have to be really involved,” she says. “We’re a dairy and it’s a busy place. If we don’t all pitch in as a family, then we don’t get family time outside of the farm. They’ve grown up with that kind of mentality, so they know that the more they help, the more fun they can have later.”
It also helps their children gain a greater understanding of the economics of farming, which is an on-going project that the children are excited to be involved in.
“They need to learn from a young age that you need to spend money to make money,” Jessica says. “The children are mini-entrepreneurs, they’ve each got their own heifers and they’ve just invested in some pigs as well. They’re expanding their business.”
“They’re learning that if you don’t take care of what you have, you won’t get a return on your investment,” Michael adds.
Lessons in economics are one of the parts of his Lakeland education skills from his Lakeland education that Michael finds the most helpful and he’s working on passing those lessons on to his children. Jessica developed a business background at Lakeland by working in the animal health clinic and also uses what she learned to ensure the herd is healthy.
Ambassadors for agriculture
Because their farm is located only 30 minutes from Regina, Sask., Michael and Jessica also welcome visits from groups of school children, tour buses and industry groups. They are particularly committed to helping younger generations gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from and the important work happening in the agriculture sector.
“It’s really important because our kids are going to school with mostly town kids who have no idea where their food comes from,” Jessica says. “It’s important to us not just to represent the dairy industry, but to also represent agricultural industries overall and let people know that in our province and our country, farmers are providing nutritious food and they’re doing it sustainably and for the consumer. It helps give the children a little bit of understanding. Mostly they’re just excited to see the baby calves though.”
“If you want to see a whole first grade class be quiet and still, you’ll never see it more than during calving,” Michael adds with a laugh.
The Loviches usually host between two to four school tours every spring, though this past spring, the tours were done digitally instead of in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s been a long road, coming from their family farms to putting down roots and now raising a family at Lovholm Holsteins in Balgonie, and Michael says Lakeland was an important step along the way.
“We’ve had a crazy journey to get where we are today and we look forward to what the future holds,” he says. “We’ll keep meeting challenges and looking for opportunities. We’re thankful for our Lakeland education and instructors who helped give us the knowledge to make it this far. I just wish we were younger and could go back and do it again.”
Photos: Top - The Lovich family. Middle - The Lovich family's three daughters. Bottom- A dairy cow from Lovholm Holsteins.