Like Europeans in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Jos Langeweg was drawn to the wide-open spaces of Alberta as a means to build a better life for him and his family. The Langewegs, however, came much later.
After completing his post-secondary education in agriculture in 1973, Jos Langeweg did a three-month practicum in Canada. Fast-forward 20 or so years, and he, his wife and their four children emigrated to Alberta from the Netherlands.
“It was about more possibilities for my kids, for my sons to farm. We could never expand our farm in Holland to let the kids farm,” Langeweg said. “We had a crop farm in Holland, the exact same type as we do now. We went from 75 acres to 2,500 acres.”
Initially, the family started a broiler farm near Taber. At the time, there was only one small processing plant for potatoes, the Langewegs’ preferred crop, and it was in Lethbridge. A year later, however, two French fry plants opened up. Langeweg made a friend who was a grower for the plants and soon had his own deal. The family relocated to the Burdett/Bow Island area to start a row-crop irrigation farm.
Today, the 2019 BMO Farm Family for the County of Forty Mile operate Torlang Farms, a joint venture with the Torsius family. The operation grows potatoes, wheat, seed canola, dry beans and peas on 2,700 acres. Most equipment is GPS/RTK equipped and the operation is moving into variable rate control with seeding, planting and irrigation to reduce costs and maximize yield.
“We started a partnership out here on Bow Island. They needed storage, is how it started out. Now his daughter is married to my son,” Langeweg said. “We found out that in Holland, we lived maybe 40 kilometres apart, but never knew each other. They came over just after us, in’98.”
Now, the reason the Langewegs came to Canada has come to pass. Jos and Bea are semi-retired, with their oldest son, Serge, taking the driver’s seat on the operation. Another son, Jorik, is also involved on the farm.
The family is active in the Burdett Christian Reformed Church, while Jos is a member of the Burdett Ag Society and the Burdett Fire Department. Bea is a member of the Prairie Rose Quilters and helps out in the community as needed, whether it’s at the local school or the food bank. The couple are also enjoying watching the latest generation enjoy the benefits of taking part in 4-H.
“It’s nice to see our grandkids involved. Our eldest son and his wife are really involved in the leadership of 4-H. As parents, it’s really nice when you see that they are doing for their kids what we did for them.”
Moving to Canada was a big decision, but the right one for the Langewegs.
“It’s a little bit different in the winter, but I would rather have the snow and the sun that what we had in Holland, which is the rain. Here, I see sun every day.”