A proud family of 3rd generation farmers run the Mangin Bros. Dairy Farm, which dates back to 1969. It all began with Laurent Mangin who owned 11 milking cows. He passed his humble dairy farm on to his two sons, Rick and Florent, and by 1985, the herd grew from 11 cows to 26. Eventually, the brothers would build an addition to the barn, expanding the herd to 56 cows.
With the next generation taking an interest in dairy farming, Rick and Florent were inspired to grow their farm. Together, they built a new barn in 2003. The first of its kind in the area, the barn incorporated new technology that came with a learning curve, but the Mangin brothers took it in stride. Afterall, a day doesn’t go by when you don’t learn something new on the farm. Because of this, the Mangin family has always valued and prioritized education when it comes to raising the next generation.
After high school, Florent’s son Jamie studied Agribusiness at Assiniboine Community College and took a position as an Agronomist in Shoal Lake. Not a day went by when he didn’t call home to check on his family and the farm.
In January 2008, Jamie returned home to take his place and make his mark on the family farm. That first month back home led Jamie to a new understanding and appreciation for his family’s dedication, love, and passion for the farm. A few years later, his brother Steven followed the same path as his brother – completing his Agribusiness Diploma and spending some time working away. Then in 2011, he returned home to farm alongside Jamie, his parents – Florent & Judy, and his uncle and aunt – Rick & Lucy.
“It’s like getting a chance to relive your childhood watching your children tackle the same chores you did at that age”
When Jamie was in college, he caught the eye of Sheri – a cattle farm girl – and stole her heart. In 2010, they married and a year later they started their family with the arrival of Alivia in 2012, followed by Cole in 2014, Maddison in 2015, and Brayden in 2016. Four children in the span of 4-5 years may sound like a lot, but Jamie & Sheri wouldn’t have it any other way!
Alivia and her siblings can be found in the barn at various times of the day, especially when Grandpa and Grandma (Florent & Judy) are in the barn lending a hand. “Grandma and Grandpa have a special way of making chores fun,” Alivia recalls with a smile. “You’re working and giggling at the same time, and you don’t even know it.”
To Alivia, dairy farming means family – and the farm is where most of her memories are made, just like her dad when he was a child.
“It’s like getting a chance to relive your childhood watching your children tackle the same chores you did at that age,” Jamie reminiscences.
At a young age, Jamie and his siblings learned the ins and outs of a dairy farm. And like everything else, dairy farming comes with good times and hard times.
Always looking for innovative ways to ensure cow comfort, in 2020 Jamie and Steven installed two automated milking systems, which allows cows to choose when and how often they get milked – on average 2 to 3 times a day.
Two years later, the Mangins lost their dairy barn to a devastating fire. Driven by their love of dairy, it took Jamie and Steven less than 24 hours to agree that the only option was to rebuild. “When you’re born into dairy farming, it’s something you can’t shake,” Jamie explains. “I really can’t see myself doing anything else. I knew my heart was in it the first time I remembered my dad taking me to the barn for chores.”
Although losing everything to the fire was painful, the future holds promise as the Mangins hope to be milking again in 2023. “I’m really excited to see and help be part of the new build,” Alivia says. “It might look different from the old barn, but I’m sure all the cows will love it!”
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