2020 Agrologist of the Year is Chris Armes, PAg

The Agrologist of the Year award is presented to a Professional Agrologist (PAg) or Technical Agrologist (TAg) who has made a significant contribution to British Columbia's agriculture, natural resource and environmental science sectors.

BCIA is pleased to announce that Chris Armes, PAg, Cariboo Central Interior Branch (District 1) is 2020's Agrologist of the Year.  

The award will be virtually presented at the 74th BCIA AGM on May 18, 2021. 

Chris Armes, PAg has been working in the provincial Ministry of Forests, Land, Natural Resources and Range Development program since 1991. Chris studied Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia.  He has spent his career working in Williams Lake where he has raised his family and made significant contributions, both professionally and personally, to the agriculture community. He is fondly referred to as the “Range Godfather.”

Most recently, Chris has been involved with supporting Ranchers and First Nations through the process of the NStQ Incremental Treaty Agreement and the transition of the Range Program’s governance on Tsilhqot’in Nation Title Lands. The NStQ negotiations were the first time in any treaty negotiations that the Province has had to deal with significant potential impacts to the ranching industry. Chris made instrumental contributions to a number of ground-breaking and innovative approaches that the Province is implementing in its work to address the interests of cattle ranchers.  His practical attitude, knowledgeable insight and ability to see many possibilities at once makes for lively, outcome-based discussions. He has led the creation of numerous solutions to address grazing overlaps on Conservation Lands and Protected Areas. 

Since 2017, Chris has worked tirelessly to get range fences rebuilt that were burned down in the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. Approximately 800km of fence was damaged or destroyed in the wildfires; Chris  efficiently directed contractors to rebuild the most critically damaged fences.  He has also done extensive GIS work to aid this effort, and walked many burnt fence lines. During this time, he supported a pilot project for a new fencing material that is alleged to withstand the extreme heat created in a wildfire situation. 

Chris has also made extensive contributions to the Range Legislation over the years. He worked with a provincial team to amend the Range Act and the associated Range Regulation.  Another amendment was the Cariboo Land Use Plan for the protection of BC’s Native Grasslands, and in particular, Becher’s Prairie and  Churn Creek Protected Area. If you dig around a little, you will find Chris’ mark on most templates, procedures, policies, and technological solutions currently in use. He has become the operational ‘go to’  person for mapping and a district administrative Access database that he developed for use by all districts.  Appropriately it is titled Haywire!

Working through many complex land decisions, Chris has earned the respect of his peers, the local First  Nations peoples, and the resource and recreation sector staff that he works with. Everybody understands that he values their input and will work tirelessly to find sustainable solutions that support everyone. 

Chris has a passion for principled, evidence-based resource management. Thus, he is also widely known and   respected, even by those with opposing views, including in all levels of government as well as contributing associations, such as the BC Cattlemen Association and the local chapters.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021