April - Noel Roddick, PAg(Ret), Fraser Valley Branch (District 2)

What are your areas of practice? What is your expertise?

Commercial agriculture always interested me.  Eventually, soil sampling and recommendations became a specialty: only applying what the crop required as overuse was environmentally irresponsible, particularly in Delta with our overwintering waterfowl.

Why did you choose the career in which you are currently?

My wife, Val, and I were educated to go out and feed a hungry world in 1962. Fertilizer was increasing crop yields. I went into the fertilizer business in 1963 and worked in sales in the Fraser Valley until 1970.  At that time we started our own fertilizer company, Noel Roddick Ltd., in Ladner, and at the same time, I also became Secretary of BCIA’s Vancouver Branch.   

Why did you decide to become a member of BCIA?

In 1975, I became Treasurer of the Delta Farmers’ Institute and also the BC Seed Potatoes Growers and still hold both positions! Our vision was to support local farmers and the business of agriculture, the same reason I joined the BCIA.

1992 saw the creation of The Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust (DFI), a group of conservationists and farmers, of which I was one of the founding directors.  The Trust continues to work successfully together for the benefit of agriculture and wildlife.

What do you do in a typical workday or week?

I am currently retired and live on Westham Island, in Delta on the farm we moved to in 1973.  We sell grass-fed beef and are born and raised here. 

Please share some interesting bonus "perks" and overarching experiences of your previous or current work.

The DFI is working on a plan to include Westham Island’s 2500 acres in Delta’s irrigation system.  I volunteer for the DFI on this project and also represent the DFI on Vancouver’s Port Liaison Committee.  Farms and Ports: port expansion should not come at the expense of local food production; however, we do not forget how Canadian farmers rely on our ports to export our crops and pay the bills!  It is imperative to support local agriculture…the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought that to everyone’s attention.

A prosperous local farming scene is essential to keep the land “in good heart”’ for both food AND wildlife! Terralink Ltd. and Roddick’s set up a bursary for a student to work in local agriculture upon graduation at the UBC Faculty of Food Sciences.  It has been going now for 9 years.

Despite farming on the urban fringe local production is still enthusiastically increasing.  A world-class city like Vancouver is most fortunate to have such productive farmland on its doorstep!