Student Success
two women stand next to each other and smile for the camera
Alley Handsaeme (L) and Lana Handsaeme (R).

Citing her daughter as her inspiration, mature student Lana Handsaeme is set to graduate from Lethbridge College’s Agriculture Sciences program with a major in agronomy.

A self-described “city kid,” Handsaeme says her hands-on education began when she moved to her husband’s family farm north of Lethbridge. “I sort of did things the opposite way,” she says. “I got married and had kids really early. I helped out on the farm for years but once the girls were older and more self-sufficient, I decided I wanted to expand my knowledge.”

Handsaeme says she was motivated by her daughter, Alley, who graduated from the Agriculture Sciences program in the spring of 2020. “Seeing her working in the field and all the knowledge she gained, she kind of became my idol.”

Two weeks before the start of the fall 2020 semester, as combining on the farm was just getting underway, Lana Handsaeme visited the Lethbridge College website and enrolled. Classes had moved online because of the pandemic so she was able to work on her diploma while continuing to help with the farm. She completed her program, in-person, this spring.

two women walk side by side through a field of winter wheat“I’m so happy for her,” says Alley Handsaeme. “She showed interest in my college education, so I was glad to see her take the opportunity for herself. Now she bounces ideas around with my dad and has the confidence to get more technically involved in operations.”

Lana Handsaeme also views her post-secondary education as an important part of succession planning. “My daughter’s focus is on agronomy, and my interest is in precision agriculture,” she says. “So, between the two of us, we can help ensure this fifth-generation farm continues on.”

As she works to implement precision farming techniques at home, Handsaeme also spends time at Vanee Farm Centre where it’s her job to help other area producers do the same. Her days are busy but rewarding. “You know, mature students hesitate to go back to school, but I would encourage them to do it,” she says. “Age is just a number, and you can never learn enough.”

Lethbridge College also offers a Bachelor of Agriculture Science – a program that ladders out of the Agriculture Sciences diploma. For more information on the degree, visit the program website.   

Handsaeme will receive her diploma, along with her fellow School of Agriculture graduates, during the afternoon ceremony of Spring 2022 Convocation this Friday in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.