Travis and Brad Hopcott of Hopcott Farms in Pitt Meadows were honoured March 28 as BC’s Outstanding Young Farmers for 2023.
“Really, what it boils down to is your farm progress, your farm history, your farm production,” judge Meeru Dhalwala told the finalists for this year’s award at the event in Abbotsford. “Your finances, your personnel, your succession, and your environmental plan.”
The winner must be equally strong across all categories, Dhalwala says, leading her and fellow judges Suzanne Cuthbert and Denise Parker to select the Hopcott brothers.
The Hopcotts have developed the family farm, located in Pitt Meadows since 1932, into a diversified and progressive operation encompassing beef, cranberries and agritourism; a farm shop and also an on-site abattoir, which composts most of its waste for use as a soil amendment. And while proud of being third-generation farmers, the Hopcotts see humility as the linchpin in a corporate culture holding together a diverse staff of 80 people from around the world.
The Hopcotts faced stiff competition from this year’s candidates, which included Johannes and Julaine Truer of Creekside Dairy in Agassiz and Matthew Carr of Linden Lane Farms in the community of Krestova, west of Nelson.
The Truers have developed a thriving organic dairy operation over the past 15 years, and expanded it to include a cheesemaking and retail business. Some of the farm’s cheeses are also finding their way into major grocery chains. The couple have also been advocates for dairying on social media, and prioritize family and social commitments within their vision for the family business.
Carr’s presentation his own journey from breeding fowl to breeding nursery plants and eventually the development of a diversified market garden that sells through farmers markets, a box program and on-farm stand that launched a self-checkout system this past fall. It’s also diversified into Christmas trees and cut flowers, showing an entrepreneurial flair that continues to uncover opportunities that keep the family farm fresh.
In the words of Dhalwala, “This is like judging a beauty contest.”
Having won the regional competition, the Hopcotts will travel to Laval, Quebec for the national finals, scheduled for November 22-26.