Alexis is a fourth generation cut flower grower in Abbotsford, BC. Their crops include outdoor tulips, daffodils, gladiolus and peonies along with greenhouse tulips and daffodils. She is also the founder of the Abbotsford Tulip Festival which opened to the public for the first time in spring 2016.
Grace is a Relationship Manager at Farm Credit Canada. Based out of Abbotsford, her main focus is to assist farms throughout the Lower Mainland meet their financial and business goals. Since graduating from the Agriculture Business program at Olds College in 2009, Grace has held various roles within the agriculture industry including Analyst for TD Bank, Al Technician for Westgen, and relief milking for various local dairy farms. Grace is also an active member and new representative for BC Young Farmers. Coupled with her background in the dairy and crop industries, Graces education and professional experience allow her to offer sound advice and insight to members of the agriculture community.
Jill farms pasture raised turkeys and chickens with her family in the Bradner area. Prior to farming poultry her and her family farmed 60 acres of raspberries. Jillian is married with one young son. When not on the farm Jillian works as a mediator with small claims court. Jillian is passionate about farming and uniting farmers from all commodities in order to keep Agriculture strong in BC and all of Canada.
Matt is a Senior Manager with KPMG Enterprise, based in the Fraser Valley but serving clients throughout the country.
Matt brings to the board over eight years’ experience serving enterprise clients primarily in the agribusiness sector. He has experience advising private companies and shareholders on a broad range of accounting, business and taxation matters in the context of a corporate group or individual entity involving private company transactions. Matt’s experience with business owners has provided him with a focus on helping entrepreneurs manage resources efficiently.
Matt participates on the Board of BC Young Farmers as a business representative, offering advice and perspective based on his experience.
Rudi is an owner operator of U&D Meier Dairy #1. His farm has been ran by his family for 45 years next year and he is the second generation to farm with my twin brother Karl. He is married with 5 wonderful children which he hopes to continue the tradition of farming with one of them. He is the Herdsman and operations manager of the ongoing work on the farm day to day.
He has been in the dairy industry for 15 years. He has a been a part of the South Fraser DHI board for 10 years now and he joined the BCYF to become more involved with the future of agriculture and to preserve the power of supply management and the protection of ALR with not only the dairy industry but all of agriculture. He would like be a part of keeping our agriculture a priority for the public to value as a part of the community.
Sarah van Heeswijk
Sarah works with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture as a Youth Development Specialist. For over a decade she has worked with youth in agriculture, primarily through the B.C. 4-H organization. Sarah brings expertise in educational programming, event planning, and organizational effectiveness to the BCYF board. Sarah joined BCYF in 2014 as an ex-officio member.
Devan is a fifth generation dairy farmer in Chilliwack. He graduated with honors in 2005 from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agribusiness Management, and was chosen by his university to speak at the Royal agricultural Show for Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture. He is the vice president of Toop Farms Ltd, where they milk 270 cows on 220 acres, raising all their young stock on the farm. His main responsibilities on the farm are herd management and human resources, but he is involved in everything on the farm on a daily basis. In 2006, he helped start Mainland Young Milk Producers, and was on the board as vice president, president, and past president for four years as they grew the young producer group.
Miranda grew up on a family dairy farm in Abbotsford and just completed her Master of Science degree in Agriculture for Sustainable Development in the United Kingdom. She also has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Horticulture, and has worked on a number of research projects in BC’s Lower Mainland focusing on sustainable and integrated pest management, including insect pest research on cranberries and blueberries and pest bird deterrence using drone technology. She has worked at a number of agricultural organizations including the Centre for Agricultural Biosciences International in Switzerland, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada locally in Agassiz, as well as contributing to her family farm between studies and work.
Having grown up at the family farm, Leo dabbled in several other jobs over the course of his early career, including a stint overseas in the Netherlands. He realized that agri-business was what drew him the most and in 2010 he had the opportunity to bring his skills and experience back to the family farm. Together with his father, Harry, brothers Andries and Corne he works at Quik’s Farm; a Chilliwack based, family run business specializing in selling fresh cut flowers to wholesalers, distributors, florists, and retailers in Western Canada. He took on the responsibility of developing Quik’s Farms’ sales and logistics departments. Recognizing the changing market trends in the floriculture industry, Leo actively pursued a forward thinking and out of the box mentality to build rapport for BC Grown flowers. Leo strongly believes that putting value into the hands of consumers will build a sustainable and viable business for future generations. Currently Quik’s Farm operates out of over 10 acres of state of the art glass greenhouses and 10 acres of seasonal field production. Leo is happily married to his wife Rita, and enjoys spending free time with his 2 young children, Soraya and Xander.
Melissa grew up on her family farm, Aldor Acres, just outside of Fort Langley. Being an avid hockey player growing up, this took her to Boston University where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She returned to the family farm in 2012, and now runs the day to day operations with her Grandparents. On their 80 acre farm they have a variety of animals and crops – specializing in pork sausages, educational farm tours, and their popular Pumpkin Patch. She feels young farmers are vital to the sustainability of agriculture – as it is these younger generations who will help preserve the earth and create an environment for all creatures to thrive.
Raj is a tree fruit grower from the South Okanagan. He is currently completing his undergraduate in Biology. Previously, he has worked as a field man for a tree fruit cooperative and has also interned with a Canadian agricultural lender.
Myles and his family have been involved in agriculture in the Fraser Valley since the mid 1980’s when his parents bought their first farm in the Abbotsford area. The Andrew’s along with their extended family now work together to run mixed commercial poultry and cow calf operations as well as forage crops and custom works. Growing up on the family farm since early childhood Myles has fond memories of the animals and helping out with daily farm chores. Early on he was encouraged to get a job off the farm by his parents, so he pursued a career as an electrician. He completed his apprenticeship and now has a contracting business. Myles is also an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley teaching a range of courses including; Electrical Apprenticeship, Electronics Common Core, and is also actively involved in a Robotics and Automation course offered by UFV. Myles has been involved with the BCYF organization since its inception in 2008 and has enjoyed the experience and would encourage anyone that is interested in getting involved to just get out and do it…
Alex is originally from Vancouver. She worked on a vineyard after high school and fell instantly in love with working with the land. She went to the University of the Fraser Valley where she obtained an Agricultural Technology Diploma, a Horticulture Crop Production and Protection Certificate and a Bachelors in Environmental Studies. Throughout her time at UFV she worked for at The Pacific Agricultural Research Center in the Integrated Pest Management and Berry Breeding departments.
After graduation she went into the horticulture sector where she was managed a Crop Protection program at one of the largest nurseries in BC. She is currently running a small scale farm that supplies food to a local craft brewery and kitchen in Abbotsford.
Lisa graduated as a mature student from Kwantlen Polytechnic University in spring 2017 with a diploma in Horticulture Technology. Before enrolling into university after high school, she was working in the floral industry. She has always had a passion for plants, flowers and design and this was a great way to be introduced to horticulture.
When she moved to British Columbia, she realized that she could follow her passion while having a successful career, so she enrolled in school for horticulture. In the winter of 2015 she had the opportunity to join Agrima Botanicals growing team. She maintained working part time while going to school full time to finish her diploma.
Two years later, and a lot of hard work, she is the Lead Grower at the facility. They received their licence in the beginning of November. She feels privileged to have this opportunity to be with a company that is working so hard to produce regulated cannabis to patients. It is truly an amazing plant and she is constantly learning new things.
Anne-Marieke is a PhD student in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). She grew up in Den Haag, a big city in The Netherlands, but her fondest memories are of holidays spent at her uncle’s dairy farm. This passion for animals and farming has led to her degrees in Animal Sciences and now to her PhD in dairy cattle welfare.
While studying in The Netherlands, she served as a representative and chair of The Farmers Foundation board. This foundation aims to connect students with the reality of farming in the Netherlands and abroad. While on the board she engaged with farmers of all agricultural disciplines and learned about different farming styles (i.e. from conventional farming to organic and biodynamic farming) across many agricultural disciplines. In addition, she organized excursions to different farms, varying from dairy, poultry and pig farms to biogas farms and agriculture related companies (e.g. feed companies).
Currently, she is working and living at the UBC Dairy Research Centre in Agassiz. Her research focuses on practical solutions for giving dairy cows outdoor access, by also considering the limitations of BC dairy farms. In addition to her experimental work at the UBC dairy and supervising and mentoring other students she also get to partake in many of the day-to-day operations at the farm, such as chasing the cows to the milking parlour and night checks.
Stanley is a second generation broiler farmer in Chilliwack. He works full-time for Clearbrook Grain and Milling as a poultry feed sales rep. He works with farmers every day and enjoys the opportunities he gets to learn more about the different ways to farm, using different techniques and also how to deal with the challenges farmers face today.