Sharing a love of dairy with future farmers

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January 20, 2021
Lovholm Holsteins near Balgonie, Sask., is a labour of love for Lakeland College alumni Michael and Jessica Lovich.
Lovich Family
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.
 
Michael and Jessica attended Lakeland together, though a year apart, with Michael graduating from livestock production in 2002 and Jessica from animal health technology in 2003.
 
“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.
 

Looking back

 
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.
What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

What Faculty & Staff Say
Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

What Alumni Say
There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
I recommend the UT program to people all the time. The smaller setting Lakeland offers, is very conducive to learning. It's less intimidating than the larger universities and allows for more class interactions and discussions

– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
I have loved my experience at Lakeland. The teachers are personable, and quick to share about their own experiences. They encouraged me to run with my own ideas and see what would happen; they got excited about my designs, which gave me the confidence to do my best and be more creative.

– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

What Alumni Say
At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

– Alisa Brace

Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

– Stephen Mark Visser

Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

– Lucas Tetreault

HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

– Donald James Shaw

Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
All the hands-on learning was great and very helpful once placed into the industry. Having clients leave with a smile after each service assured me that I was in the right field of work. I would recommend Lakeland to anyone.

– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree