Board and Staff
The BCAC unites the efforts of our partners and member associations as well as the provincial and federal government to lead BC agriculture in pursuit of our mission. However, we wouldn’t be able to lead the industry without the direction of our professional and dedicated Board. Meet the people that form the governing body of the BCAC and are working together to advance BC agriculture.
Born into the farming industry, Rhonda carries on the family tradition as a berry grower and packer in the Fraser Valley, with 160-acres of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, red currants and haskapberries. In her role with the BCAC, Rhonda is highly active in coordinating the annual BCAC Agriculture Industry Gala. She is also the president of the BC Raspberry Growers’ Association, co-chair of the Labour Committee and a member of the Minister’s Trade Advisory Council. In the future, Rhonda hopes to see heightened awareness and respect for the role that BC agriculture has in regards to employment and environmental sustainability.
Stan Vander Waal’s farming background includes hogs and dairy, but he eventually transitioned to floriculture in 1985 when he and his wife Wilma started Rainbow Greenhouses in Chilliwack. Since then, they have grown the business from 3,000 to 1.8 million square feet of greenhouses at three different locations.
Stan is an active advocate for agriculture, serving on the Chilliwack Agriculture Advisory Committee and on the board of United Flower Growers, where he is a past Chair and currently Vice Chair.
Stan is excited to work with his fellow BCAC Directors as a single voice on issues that are common to all agriculture sectors in BC. He would also like to use his role to empower more farmers to take advantage of opportunities to communicate with the public and with government.
Stan and Wilma have five children, Anne Marie, Lorraine, Joel, Allan and Eric. Their first grandchild is expected in the summer of 2013.
When Stan is not managing his greenhouse or working in his yard, he enjoys cruising on his motor cycle in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter.
Ray’s transition into farming was a natural progression as he took over for the family vegetable greenhouse business in BC’s Lower Mainland. In addition to representing the vegetable sector on the BCAC Board, Ray lends his expertise to his roles as the Director and Treasurer for the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association and Director for the Delta Farmers’ Institute. While Ray enjoys contributing to a dynamic industry, he envisions government policies that can unlock BC agriculture’s fullest potential by promoting farming and supporting its role in the province’s economic, environmental and social landscapes.
Hans has been a grape grower in the South Okanagan since 1982. He represents the Interior Horticulture sector. He is actively involved as Chair of the British Columbia Wine Grape Council, Co-chair of the Horticulture Value Chain Round Table, the BCAC Water Working Group, and a member of the Okanagan Basin Water Stewardship Council. Hans is a founding member and past president of the Certified Organic Associations of BC. He believes that agriculture provides a critical public service by ensuring that the population has secure access to clean, healthy food and by preserving the land and production capacity for generations to come.
Dennis brings the experience gained from a prolific background in public service to his involvement with the BCAC, including 26 years with the Calgary Police Service, elected local government positions, land and resource management planning as well as other provincial advocacy roles. He also owns and operates a purebred sheep farm near Falkland, BC, where he has been farming since 1992. In addition to the BCAC, Dennis represents the Certified Organic Associations of BC as well as two non-commodity specific entities: 1) the Community Agriculture sector, which currently comprises the FARM Community Council and 2) the BC Sheep Federation.
Fred Wein is Vice President of Clearview Horticultural Products Inc, a 3rd generation family nursery/retail business. With a BSc (Agr) from UBC, Fred has been extremely active in the agriculture industry his entire career, and is a past President of both ARDCORP and BCLNA. Fred is passionate about the long term competiveness of BC agriculture and believes that a profitable industry is a healthy industry.
Fred lives in Aldergrove, BC with his fiancé Keri and 2 children, Wes and Dani.
Next time you are at your local rodeo, look out for Fred in a cowboy hat where he often enjoys his favorite hobby, team roping.
A former teacher, Lou chose the rancher’s lifestyle for his family south of Merritt, BC. For 30 years, the Cookes did what you think a rancher does - calving, roping and running spring-time cattle drives and fall round-ups. Having downsized from 250 to 150 cows, Lou now over-winters the calves and sells them as yearlings the following year. Lou lives and breathes the outdoor life and enjoys tremendous satisfaction in raising thriving animals. His vision for BC agriculture is an environment that is more conducive to greater financial stability and success for farmers and ranchers.
Lorne Hunter and his wife Charlotte purchased his uncle’s dairy in 1984 and now milk about 60 cows on their 200 acre farm located in between Enderby and Armstrong in the north Okanagan. Lorne is extremely active in the industry, sitting on the BC Dairy Association since 2004 where he is currently the Vice President and Chair of the Finance Committee. He is also the current Chair of BCAC’s Water Committee, a position he has held since 2010. With the diversity of BC agriculture, Lorne recognizes that addressing the issues that affect the various agricultural sectors will be crucial to developing and maintaining sustainable farms for the next generation of BC farmers and ranchers. Lorne and Charlotte have three grown children, Danielle, Christine and Kevin. When he is not farming, Lorne gets active in BC’s great outdoors, enjoying both alpine and cross country skiing in the winter and canoeing in the summer.
About 72 km north of Dawson Creek are 3,500 acres of wheat, barley, oats, canola, and fescue. This is where Robert grew up. He bought his parents’ farm and continues the family tradition of growing grain. Independence and self-reliance are values he shares with his young family along with the satisfaction of working outdoors. As Vice-President of the BC Grain Producers’ Association, Robert is a modern farmer who believes not only in contributing to food security for BC and Canada, but also in growing the ability of BC farmers and ranchers to market their products worldwide.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Education from UBC and a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from SFU, Allen James is a Vancouver boy who has always been interested in farming. In 1994 he and his son Terry made investments in buildings and quota to become broiler hatching egg producers. Eventually they made the transition to broilers and currently have about 26,000 birds on their Chilliwack farm.
When Allen retired from the Chilliwack School District in 2000, he continued to use his administration skills to become active on numerous industry committees. Currently, he is Chair of the Agriculture Research Development Corporation (ARDCORP), BCAC’s Climate Action & Renewable Energy Committee and the joint industry-government Partnership Committee on Agriculture & the Environment.
In addition to son Terry, Allen and his wife Irene have three grown daughters (Tammie, Shelly, Sheri) and five grandchildren.
Dale is the president of BC Young Farmers and a director of the BC Chicken Growers’ Association and Investment Agriculture Foundation. As a poultry farmer who raises broiler chickens, turkeys, and egg-laying hens, he enjoys letting people know where their food comes from. Farming keeps him grounded through the balance of business and daily chores on the family farm. Dale’s vision for BC agriculture is a community where people support each other through shared experiences and ideas.
guest, representing BC Young Farmers. Gillian Robbins is active in her family’s free range chicken and turkey direct farm marketing business and is Vice Chair of BC Young Farmers. When she is not farming, Gillian is self employed as a third party mediator. Gillian has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Modern Languages from the University of the Fraser Valley and a Diploma in Conflict Resolution/Third Party Mediation from the Justice Institute of BC. Gillian is passionate about effective communication in organizations and sees herself using these skills to better encourage farmers to better engage with the non-farming public.