Milking the 70 cows at the Lovich farm near Balgonie, Sask., is a family affair as Renelle, 7, Raelyn, 4 and Reata, 9, run into the arms of their parents, Jessica and Michael.  |  William DeKay photo

Dairy couple work well as a team

On the Farm: Jessica and Michael Lovich ‘play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses’ as they build their dairy farm

BALGONIE, Sask. — Jessica and Michael Lovich laugh when they remember the day their three young daughters defined their farm roles when they grow up. “They decided when they get bigger, the oldest one (Reata) will be the farm veterinarian because she’s into pets and animals,” Jessica said with a smile. “The middle one (Renelle) […] Read more

The Hamill family, which run Red Shed Malting on their farm near Penhold, Alta., now includes three generations: Matt, left, John, Susie, Daelyn, Joe and two-year-old Isabella. They are standing in front of the company’s malt roaster.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Alta. family malts, markets their own barley

On the Farm: The Hamills’ decision to get into the malting and marketing of barley took them half way around the world

PENHOLD, Alta. — The Hamill family are accustomed to taking risks. After all, they’re farmers. So when they made the decision to tap into Alberta’s burgeoning craft beer scene by malting and marketing their own barley, they knew there were no guarantees. Little did they know that their “barley to bottle” journey would take them […] Read more

Garry Shankowsky, left, and sons Chris and Derek run Big Country Bison at Pelly, Sask. | Karen Briere photo

Self-reliant bison work well on Sask. farm

On the Farm: The Shankowskys were looking for options during the tough times of the 1990s — they opted for bison

PELLY, Sask. — It’s Grey Cup 1997 and the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing against the Toronto Argonauts. The game is billed as Big Country versus Big City, and Gwyn Shankowsky immediately saw the potential. She, husband Garry and sons Derek and Chris had just bought their first 10 bison and were looking for a name […] Read more

Ty Shelton feeds his cattle some potatoes on his farm near Lac La Biche.  |  Jeremy Simes photo

Soil health key for northern Alberta farm

On the Farm: The Sheltons have made significant improvements to their potato yields by properly managing their soil

LAC LA BICHE, Alta. — The Shelton family has managed to turn their once sandy soils into something rich and fertile, a testament to their ongoing commitment to improve the land. The proof can be seen in the food they grow on their Sand Springs Ranch.  Their potatoes, once yielding 10 tonnes to the acre, […] Read more

Ellen and Andries Boersma prepare the goats for the day’s second milking at 5 p.m., which takes about three hours. Andries built the milking parlour with the help of family and friends. Because the couple did so much of the hands-on work of converting the cow dairy barns to be suitable for goats, they are confident they’ll be able to do a lot of any necessary fixing. | Maria Johnson photo

Empty cow barns filled with milking goats

On the Farm: Buying dairy goats proved to be much more affordable than dairy cows for this young Alberta couple

MORNINGSIDE, Alta. — When Andries and Ellen Boersma direct newcomers to Boersma Goat Dairy, they are sure to tell them to turn into the laneway with the Holstein cow painted on the sign. People have been known to drive on by, which is an understandable mistake. The Holstein sign was painted by Ellen’s father, Cor […] Read more

Mary Jean and Jack Mulder visit their seven-year-old Quarter Horse stallion, Rebel Laico Doc Bar, with two of their grandchildren, Eli, 1, and Annalee, 2. The weathered building behind is the remains of a house that Jack’s grandparents lived in for about a year in the mid-1960s while their new home was being built elsewhere on the property.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Adversity turns focus onto important things

On the Farm: A serious accident and loss of a job encouraged couple to pursue what they love — horses and music

LACOMBE, Alta. — People sometimes take circuitous routes to where they want to be in life. At times, they incur bumps along the road. It’s been that type of journey for Jack and Mary Jean Mulder. The couple own Hawks’ View Ranch on a quarter-section that Jack’s father and grandfather farmed. Jack and Mary Jean […] Read more

Landrace-Duroc pigs thrive at Christopher and Jessica Fasoli’s farm near Irricana, Alta. The couple have developed a large outdoor pork market in three years. The pigs live outdoors year round with plenty of bedding, fences and straw-bedded huts.  |  Barbara Duckworth photo

Outdoor pig operation proves successful

On the Farm: Alberta farm is the first outdoor pork operation in Western Canada to achieve Canadian Quality Assurance designation

IRRICANA, Alta. — When a career-oriented couple decided to leave the corporate world behind and become pig farmers, they took the risk of sailing on uncharted waters. Christopher and Jessica Fasoli started Bear and the Flower Farm in 2015, where they raise outdoor pigs near Irricana. Their pork sales have skyrocketed. They have experimented with […] Read more

Matt Cole shrink wraps a large boat in the bright spacious shop that used to be a dairy barn.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Farm diversification takes an unusual turn

On the Farm: When grain farming wasn’t enough, this Alberta family expanded into boats, and then shrink wrappings

BENTLEY, Alta. — Ongoing uncertainty around changes to the Canadian dairy system influenced Dennis and Laurie Duncan’s decision to sell their 70 dairy cows at their third generation farm. “We sold five years ago due to the threat of losing quota to trade negotiations,” Dennis said. “Now we’re just grain.” Coulee Ridge Farms grows canola, […] Read more

Ulf Herde uses horses for almost all of his cattle work.  |  Jeremy Simes photo

Ranch uses tight rotations, little machinery

On the Farm: Ulf Herde runs about 400 head on his ranch near Ardmore, Alta., using corn for winter grazing

Ardmore, Alta. — All of Ulf Herde’s cattle are just about ready to return to the home pasture. He has already got one group here, grazing close to the yard, while the other groups forage on nearby land. Once it’s the middle of November, he will manage the animals as one bunch. Weaning will then […] Read more

Niels Lausten competes at a 2014 shoot in Aylesbury, Sask., on his gelding, Ranger. Mounted shooters use .45 calibre single action revolvers. The gun must be cocked each time before firing by drawing the hammer back. Other firearms in the sport include rifles and double barrel shotguns. All use blank ammunition.  |  Cheryl La Rue photo

Cowboy mounted shooting relives Wild West

On the Farm: A passion for the sport leads this central Alberta couple to share their knowledge with others

BLACKFALDS, Alta. — The romance and folklore of the Wild West fascinated Niels Lausten when he was a farm boy growing up in Denmark. “Not only did he watch every western he could on TV, those were dubbed into German so he learned that language as well,” said his wife Cheryl La Rue. Lausten started […] Read more