Pitt Meadows farmers Travis and Brad Hopcott of Hopcott Farms have taken top honours in the Outstanding Young Farmers Canada event, held in Laval, Quebec, November 22-26.
“We are so excited to receive this award,” says Brad Hopcott. “The judges had an extremely hard decision to make with all of the fantastic honourees. We would like to thank our families and our team for all of their support because without it we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
“This award, ultimately, recognizes all of the amazing young farmers across all seven regions of this country,” adds Travis. “Each had to overcome trials, maintaining a drive to continue improving and displaying pride in producing a safe high-quality product to feed people. It is truly an honour to be recognized among this class of young farmers.”
The brothers won the OYF BC & Yukon title in March, which allowed them to advance to the national finals.
During the regional event, the brother described how they had transformed the farm started by their grandfather into a 1,000 head beef feedlot with forage production, on-farm abattoir, 72-acre cranberry farm and a 17,000-square-foot retail store and wedding venue.
The family-run operation sees Brad steer the beef side, Travis in charge of the cranberries and their sister Jennifer running the retail and wedding venue.
Sustainability being among the judges’ criteria of excellence, the brothers noted their efforts to renovate 20% of their cranberry acreage with new varieties that make them more efficient while a reservoir allows them to recycle 30 million gallons of water through the cranberry bogs during harvest.
To allow for full integration of the beef operation and reduce the farm’s carbon hoofprint while also addressing animal welfare and quality issues, a $5 million abattoir was added to the operation in 2022.
Utilizing waste tissue composting units has allowed for the integration of animal waste back into the forage fields, further enhancing the farm’s sustainable credentials.
Having receiving support through the management transition, Brad & Travis hope to return the favour and mentor future BC farmers.
The brothers were selected as winners alongside Alberta seed producers Greg & Sarah Stamp, beating out five other finalists from provincial programs across Canada.
Open to participants 18 to 39 years of age, OYF competitors must derive the majority of their income from agriculture.
All finalists shared stories throughout the event that exemplified their passion and love for agriculture, a key feature of the 43-year competition that recognizes excellence in farming and promotes agriculture’s tremendous contribution to Canada.