BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries field vegetable specialist Susan Smith is now also responsible for greenhouse, floriculture and nursery crops.
Smith’s appointment came in June, following Dave Woodske’s retirement as floriculture and greenhouse specialist in March 2020.
“There’s a real need for ministry support,” Smith told greenhouse growers at their annual general meeting on August 12. “Greenhouse and floriculture and nursery are very different from field vegetables in the issues that they face, but when it comes to being that liaison between industry and the ministry on some of these critical things, I think that my experience with those types of things with field vegetables is helpful.”
Smith feels her experience will be helpful in building bridges for greenhouse vegetable, flower and nursery growers as they face trade issues and other challenges.
“I might be able to help them with business management tools and point them towards things like that,” she says. “We have some basic production and basic extension tools. I try to connect them up with industry leaders and connect them with industry associations. I also try to provide them with as much aid as possible when it comes to some of the resources that are out there in terms of best management practices and grower education opportunities.”
She also sees herself assisting with technical issues such as getting input for land use planning, animal health and strategic planning from various organizations in the future.
“There’s all sorts of issues that occur when it comes to navigating regulatory waters,” she says.
Smith’s appointment followed a review of ministry priorities and industry demand in collaboration with the BC Greenhouse Growers Association, United Flower Growers and the BC Landscape and Nursery Association.
Woodske spent 22 years as the ministry’s nursery specialist, beginning in that role in 1998. His position eventually grew to include floriculture and greenhouse vegetables as roles were consolidated. The trend continues with the expansion of Smith’s role.