Stephen, Manda, and Jim Severinski with horses on their family farm in Pitt Meadows. (Pitt Meadows Museum/Special to The News)

Stephen, Manda, and Jim Severinski with horses on their family farm in Pitt Meadows. (Pitt Meadows Museum/Special to The News)

Farming for a century garners provincial honours

Severinski family honoured for past contributions to agriculture while planning for next 100 years

A century of dairy farming in Pitt Meadows has earned the Severinski family provincial accolades.

Chamber – 2016 – Severinski Farms from AVinhouse on Vimeo.

Severinski Farms in Pitt Meadows received an award, called the Century Farm and Ranch Award, today (Sunday) for 100 years of farming in British Columbia.

It celebrates the entrepreurship of one family that has supplied dairy products for more than a century, said agriculture minister Lana Popham.

“It’s so lovely to celebrate a family farm that, over the past 100 years, has grown and continues to provide fresh dairy and produce for British Columbians today,” Popham elaborated.

In congratulating the three generations of the Severinski family, she wished the family and the farm “many more prosperous years to come.”

The award honours the Severinski family’s tradition, work, and dedication to dairy farming on the Lower Mainland – and in B.C.

And the family is touched by the recognition.

“We feel blessed that we are able to farm the same land our grandparents homesteaded 100 years ago,” said Kevin and Audra Severinski, current owners of the farms.

“We are proud to continue to provide and produce quality milk to Canadians and look forward to the next generation continuing this legacy,” added Kevin.

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Severinski Farms began as a dairy when its founder Stephen Severinski immigrated to Canada from Yugoslavia in 1910.

He initially purchased a two-hectare (five-acre) parcel of land in Cloverdale.

Having established himself, Stephen invited Manda, his fiancee in Yugoslavia, to join him in 1921.

They married the day after her arrival, which also marks the beginning of Severinski Farms on Sept. 12, 1921.

In 1922, Stephen and Manda moved to Pitt Meadows where they purchased 16 hectares (40 acres). The dairy farm quickly expanded to 32.4 hectares (80 acres) on Sharpe Road, where the main activities continue today.

Stephen and Manda’s family grew along with the farm. The couple had 10 children.

Their youngest, Harry, bought the farm from his parents in 1965. He and his wife, Louise, increased their land base to 48.5 hectares (120 acres), milking 60 cows.

Within the family, ownership moved to their son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Audra, in 2000.

“And we’re looking at a succession plan to keep the farm going for the next generation,” Kevin said. Their farm was also crowned the 2016 chamber of commerce agri-business of the year for all of its work within the industry and community.

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Kevin and Audra continue dairy operations on a larger scale, with their son Brandon, on 59 hectares (145 acres) of owned land and another 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of leased land where they milk 160 cows three times a day. They are pleased and proud that Harry and Louise continue to be involved in the daily operations of the family farm.

Three generations of Severinskis have maintained this farm through all these decades, and MLA for Maple Ridge-Pit Meadows, Lisa Beare, praised their resilience and commitment.

“Severinski Farms has been a pillar of our community for the past 100 years, helping to keep our families healthy and our local economy strong,” Beare said. “Congratulations on this amazing milestone.”

While the family strives to take care of the land to keep it sustainable for years to come, Kevin explained that they have also strove to introduce progressive, innovative practices.

Their cows wear computerized leg tags, which monitor milk output and daily routines and alert the farmers on their cellphones when these patterns change. Smart, energy-saving water misters keep cows cool in the recently retrofitted dairy. New LED lights throughout the farm are cutting energy bills in half. Such practices help maintain the farm’s viability for future generations.

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An aerial of the Severinski Farm. (Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives/Special to The News)

An aerial of the Severinski Farm. (Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives/Special to The News)

A photo of the initial Severinski Farm in Surrey, before the family moved to Pitt Meadows in 1922. (Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives/Special to The News)

A photo of the initial Severinski Farm in Surrey, before the family moved to Pitt Meadows in 1922. (Pitt Meadows Museum & Archives/Special to The News)

Kevin Severinski, and his wife Audra, are the third generation of their family to own a dairy farm that has been operating now for 100 years in Pitt Meadows. The farm was recognized Sunday for being a major contributor to the province's agriculture sector for a century. (Chamber of commerce/Special to The News)