Country Life in BC

November 2016

David Schmidt honored with lifetime achievement award

by Tamara Leigh

SASKATOON – Country Life in BC’s own David Schmidt was honoured with a lifetime achievement award in September by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF). The award recognizes long-serving members who have made outstanding contributions to the organization and to the agricultural communications or media industries.

Schmidt has been a leader within BC’s farm writing community for over 30 years. His commitment and skill as a farm journalist is recognized and respected across commodities and throughout the province.

“No one has written more words about BC agriculture than David Schmidt,” says Cathy Glover, who has worked with David at Country Life in BC for the past 17 years. “He is the face of Country Life in BC among most of the farm leaders in this province, and his reputation as a farm reporter is second to none.”

Beyond the page, his commitment to the revitalization and leadership of the BC Farm Writers’ Association and the farm writing community in BC has been unwavering since he joined the organization in 1985. Nationally, he served as president of the CFWF from 1997-99 and spent many years as the BC representative to the national board.

“David he has been an excellent mentor and longtime contributor to the BC agriculture media scene. It’s great to see him get this level of recognition,” says CFWF president Crystal Jorgenson.

David grew up on a mixed dairy farm in the Fraser Valley, and has always stayed close to his roots. He has a degree in creative writing from the University of BC and has been covering agriculture for 31 years. He has won numerous awards including being named BC’s Agriculturist of the Year in 2000 by the BC Institute of Agrologists.

“I don’t do it for the glory and the honour, but it’s sure nice to get the recognition,” says Schmidt, who accepted the award at the CFWF awards dinner in Saskatoon. “Most of the jobs I’ve had over the years have been through referrals and people I’ve met through this group. Even Country Life in BC was a referral.”

“One of the things that I appreciate writing about agriculture is that I have never had to compromise my own values in writing about it,” he says. “I’ve tried to be fair and honest. I tried to write for my audience and maybe that’s why people are still reading me. I don’t write for the lady in downtown Vancouver; I write for the guy who’s trying to make a living farming.”

Known for his tremendous depth of knowledge about agriculture and local history, Schmidt has earned the respect of editors, colleagues and sources alike.

“In the farming culture of British Columbia, the words ‘David Schmidt’ and “agriculture” go hand in hand,” says Peter Wilding, the newly retired editor of Country Life in BC. “David has always had the respect of farmers, government representatives, farm associations and colleagues. In the age of shoddy journalism, bias and partisanship, David has consistently shown the highest ethical standards in the practice of his craft and has been an inspiration to many people. He’s never let us down.”

Despite his years of experience and continuous presence at agriculture events across the province, Schmidt shows few signs of slowing down or losing his passion for agriculture.

“The biggest reward is that people still want to read my stories. I must be doing something right,” he says with a grin as he trots off to find the next scoop.

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