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VIDEO: Shuswap farm expands with focus on food security

Lakeland Farms’ organic feed mill adds retail sales to its bulk business

A heat dome, droughts, wildfires and floods hammered home the need for increased self-sufficiency at Salmon Arm’s Lakeland Farms.

Mike Schroeder started the farm with his wife Sarah in 2015 after moving from Abbotsford and, with 325 acres of organic crops, added an feed mill to supply their own livestock in 2020. By 2021 they started doing bulk sales, and are now branching out into retail sales to supply smaller operations with bagged feed.

“It helped through the droughts, the floods, the fires to have feed in-house,” Schroeder said, adding that they now have enough feed on hand to supply their own farm as well as other area operations, providing local food security. “Agriculture is going to continue to grow in the Okanagan as producers move out of the Lower Mainland, so we really need this local processing ability.”

Lakeland Feeds initially started with poultry feed, but now makes it for swine and cattle, ensuring that every batch is certified organic with a mix of essential nutrients, probiotics, vitamins and minerals for healthy animals. Though he went to school for agricultural science and business management, Schroeder also seeks outside help in achieving the perfect balance.

“There’s a lot to learn as we go, a lot of discussions with professionals,” he said. “We have two nutritionists we work with who create our recipes, along with a veterinary team for guidance and testing.”

“There’s so much science that goes into the nutrition,” administrative assistant Jennifer Garrett added.

That includes different mixes depending on the what the animal is bred for, with, for example, turkeys, broiler chickens and egg producers all having different nutritional needs.

Though they started out small with an older model mill, Schroeder has since added a roller system that gives a more consistent grind and mix of ingredients to ensure “every animal gets the same bite.” He’s also added a technological component to streamline operations and provide quality control.

“We started small but try to be as automated as possible to remove human error,” Schroeder explained. “Definitely we’d like to be better than average.”

That includes combating illnesses like avian flu that has had recent outbreaks in the province. While their own flock of 4,500 organic hens wasn’t affected, it did impact Fraser Valley suppliers and prompted Schroeder to take a look at their operation.

“It tightened up our bio-security around here, a lot.”

Additionally, he can set the computer system, programming it to do different feeds throughout the day, and it will run largely on its own, allowing him to focus on the business side of things which now includes working with local and regional retailers to stock their feed in stores. As locations are added, they’ll be announced on the Lakeland website,, where people can currently buy from as well.

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About the Author: Heather Black

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