Canadian Jewish News:
"A third generation member of a Jewish family who came to Canada just prior to World War II is now helping run an internationally recognized dairy farm in Southern Ontario.
The family-owned farm, called Summitholm Holsteins, is an efficient and respected model for dairy farmers and Holstein breeders around the globe. It was established 59 years ago by a young couple, Joe and Minna Loewith, who had escaped with their families from the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia just before the Nazis invaded their homeland.
Today, two of Minna and Joe’s sons, Carl and David Loewith, run the farm, and a third generation has followed in their footsteps, as Carl’s son, Ben, has joined his father and uncle in the business.
The Loewiths offer some statistics that give an idea of the scope of their operation. They produce enough milk each day to last an average family 13 years, a total of four million litres a year. Their barn houses 350 cows, about 300 of which are milked three times a day for a per capita production of 40 litres per day – the Ontario average is 30 litres.
The farm now covers about 800 acres, of which 550 are owned and 250 rented, all dedicated to producing cattle feed. Cows are bred once a year, and some days, four or five are calving at the same time. Carl, David and Ben run the entire operation with the help of only one full-time employee and a few part-timers.
Joe and Minna Loewith’s story is a familiar one. Their families left Czechoslovakia in 1939, just a step ahead of Hitler’s invading army after Joe, who spoke German, saw a notice sent by the Nazis to the local police. Thirty-two members of Minna’s family left on the last commercial flight out of Prague, and seven others, including Joe, chartered a plane.
They all ultimately sailed from Liverpool, and came to Canada to take advantage of the country’s immigration policy, which required that they spend five years working the land.
Joe, who had been a textile salesman in Europe, started his agricultural career as a farmhand earning $5 a month plus room and board. Minna, who was then 15, worked after school as a soda jerk at Woolworth’s in downtown Hamilton. They married in 1942 when she was 20 and he was 32. Five years later, they bought a dairy farm in Copetown from Joe’s sister and brother-in-law. The farmhouse was built in 1857.
“It was muddy and primitive, and I said, ‘I’ll never live there!’’’ says Minna, who had been accustomed to a more luxurious lifestyle at home, but it was all they could afford. Under their care, it became the model farm where she lived with her beloved Joe all his life, and where her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren have grown up.
Joe died in 1998... Looking back, Minna recalls a wonderful life, with healthy children, and never feeling sorry for herself. “I loved it. I’d do it all over again.”
Carl and David are in great demand all over the world to speak on their methods. They have spoken in more than 20 different countries including Germany, Russia, Mexico, China and Japan. David was honoured as the outstanding young farmer of Canada in 1991, and both have held executive positions in many farm organizations. During last fall’s Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, several hundred visitors from as far away as India and Saudi Arabia were bused to the farm to observe its system.
David says Israel has the record for the highest production of milk per cow and has developed much of the equipment and technology used on dairy farms everywhere, including Summitholm.
The family gets up every morning at 4:15 a.m. to work and manage the huge operation, but have still found time to be involved in the Jewish community..."