The Louwagie Family

Just outside of Rostock, Ontario, a cluster of farms bear the Louwagie name. Pat Louwagie, his wife, Kim, and their sons, Brad and Andrew, have carried on the farming tradition from Pat’s parents, who immigrated to Canada from Belgium in 1962.

The Louwagies got their start in the livestock business, which is still the majority share of their operation. Under Pat’s management, the farm has gradually taken on more cropping as part of their day-to-day. Now, with Brad and Andrew at the helm, crops are starting to catch up with the hog business. The operation has a lot of moving parts, but at the end of the day, the family is just glad to be living the farm life. “It’s something we grew up with,” Andrew says. “Me and my brother both tried other things and farming was always something we wanted to come back to do.”

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The succession plan in the Louwagie family is more of an acquisition plan. Pat bought his parents’ farm in 1985, at which point his parents just turned around and bought another down the road, where they live today. Having been born into farming, Andrew and Brad bought their first farm in 2011, spreading the family business even wider. None of the Louwagies appear to be slowing down anytime soon. “We like the lifestyle,” remarks Pat. “It’s time consuming – it’s a 7-day-a-week job – but there’s lots of benefits to it. Like, progression. Technology changes. Even in the livestock industry, how that changes, we’ve adapted for that. There’s always room for improvement and adaptation - that’s the exciting part about it, to me. You’re free to be your own boss,” adds Andrew. “You work hard when you need to, but during the slower times you got some time for family and fun.”

With so much farmland between them, staying on top of the year’s work demands great teamwork. For the Louwagies, that means leaning on each other’s strengths. “Dad always listened to our inputs on how to do something or change something,” says Brad. “It was never just a ‘no.’"

"Brad is really up on the technology,” Pat says proudly. Brad has been leading the charge on getting the family set up with the Climate FieldView™ digital ag platform this year, where they see high potential for managing the growing operation. It helps that they have a proponent of the platform to work with. Todd Woodhouse, their DEKALB® Agronomist and another valuable member of the Louwagie team, has been introducing them to some of the features he uses with other farmers in the area. “Todd is always available to talk to,” Brad says, having chatted a lot with Todd over the past few months through the process of setting up and getting familiar with the platform. “I’ve found [FieldView] helps to unlock some of the answers to why some hybrids are performing better than others,” Todd says.

Using FieldView, the Louwagies have been able to track performance on their DEKALB® Market Development trials, as well as their standby DEKALB® hybrids like DKC50-78RIB corn. “50-78 has always been a workhorse for us,” says Andrew.

“The last three years have been cold, wet, people had trouble finishing corn properly, but 50-78 still always finished for us. As long as they keep selling it, we’ll keep buying it. It’s one of our favourite hybrids, for sure,” adds Brad.

But that doesn’t mean the Louwagies aren’t always trying new hybrids to stay informed about the next best thing for their operation. “We definitely rely on the DEKALB® Market Development trial test plots year over year,” says Brad. “We use that to base what the varieties will do on our soil type.”

After all, the progress in the industry is the most exciting part.

We thank the Louwagies for choosing DEKALB® brand seed for their farm and wish their entire family & operation a safe and successful harvest this year and for many years to come. Check out the results of the Louwagies' corn trial and other farm-managed Market Development trials on DEKALB.ca this fall.


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