Meet the BCYF Directors

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Alexis Warmerdam

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.

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Anmol Mahil

Anmol has been involved in the agriculture business for over ten years. Since taking over as Operations Manager for Mahil Packers Inc. Anmol has transformed the blueberry farming methods of production, marketing, and customer base. He continually uses his leadership expertise in providing efficient farm management services to help achieve Mahil Packers strategy growth and profit objectives.

Some of the duties include developing and maintaining branding, managing the entire process of producing and packing Blueberries, marketing and creating goals and objectives. Anmol plans strategies for maximum yield, organizes farm administration, works machinery, organizes associated businesses and manages staff and seasonal workers.

Anmol currently assists the company in opening more accounts and reaching out to a more accessible customer base. 
He possesses both the technical and practical skills, as well as the ability to make sound business decisions.

Anmol has been enrolled in the Agriculture Technology Program at the University of the Fraser Valley since September 2012. Anmol has effectively used the skills that he has learned from his own operation and applied them to his classes and being enrolled in the Agriculture Technology Program has led him to continually expand his knowledge about Agriculture. He is also leading the Agriculture Student Association and is a student representative on the Trades and Technology Council.

Recently, Anmol has been nominated to be a member of the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Young Farmers Association (BCYF). BCYF is a provincial association that is a part of the British Columbia Agriculture Council.

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Grace Browne

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.

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Harm Baars

Harm is a second generation dairy farmer, farming together with his brother and now retired dad. They have been farming at their present location since 1994 when they decided to sell the farm in Manitoba and move to BC.

He has been an active member and director to the BCYF and Mainland Young Milk Producer boards for the past 7 years, with the last 3 years serving as chairman to the BCYF board!

Over the years that he has been involved with the boards he has learned many skills and has had the opportunity to meet many people within the industry and also bridge the gap between industry and young farmers.

He looks forward to his last few years as a director/member of the BC young farmers. He would also like to thank the organization for all that it has done for him over the many years that he has been involved!

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Jillian Azanza

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.

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Madeleine van Roechoudt

Madeleine is a third generation tree fruit grower based in Lake Country in the Central Okanagan.  She has an undergraduate degree from UBC and a Master’s in Business Administration from Athabasca University.  Madeleine is a registered professional Agrologist and has volunteered with several local organizations including the BC Fruit Growers’ Association, the District of Lake Country Agriculture Advisory Committee and now BC Young Farmers.

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Mark Siemens

Mark is a third generation farmer that has been involved in agriculture since before he could walk.  After leaving the family farm to go to school and gain experience managing some other farming operations he is now running the family egg farm with his Dad and brother.  The family farm has conventional, free run, and free range birds on it.  He is the Chair of both the Fraser Valley Egg Producers Association and of the BC Egg Producers Association.  He greatly appreciates the work done by previous generations to create a thriving farming industry that allows me to make a living in farming.  He is am passionate to give back what he can to the industry to make sure that his two sons have that same opportunity.

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Matt Creechan

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.

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Ravi Bathe

Ravi Bathe is the former President of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association and has been farming broilers for the past 12 years in Abbotsford and Armstrong, BC. He also farms, along with his father, raspberries and blueberries, which has been the family business for the last 45 years.  Ravi has a wonderful wife of 10 years, Amanda, and two great young children, Naveed and Aria.  In his spare time he enjoys playing golf, soccer and snowboarding.

Ravi has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UNBC and currently serves on a number of boards, including BC Young Farmers, the BC Poultry Association and the BC Poultry Industry Captive Insurance Company.  He is also a past vice-chair of the Canadian Young Farmers Forum.  He very much enjoys being involved in both the hands on side of farming, and the business management side, including representing farmers at the board level. One of the things Ravi loves most about farming is that every day is different, and at the end of each day he can look back and see the things that have been accomplished.

Ravi believes that, as farmers, we have a responsibility to produce the best quality product possible for our consumers. In order to do so, we must work with our value chain partners to ensure that everyone can succeed at their link in the chain. Only by working together, can we build on our successes and ensure a bright future for family farming.

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Rudi Meier

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.

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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.

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Devan Toop

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.

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Miranda Elsby

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.

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Leo Quik

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.

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Melissa Anderson

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.

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Raj Gill

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.

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Myles Andrew

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…

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