Board of Directors: 1993 to 2018

1993: Mark Thompson (Chair – 1993 to 2006), Larry Campbell (BCAC – 1993 to 2003), Jake Janzen (BCAC – 1993 to 1993), John Schmidt (BCAC – 1993 to 2000), Harke Van der Meulen (BCAC – 1993 to 1998), Satvinder Basran (CFU – 1993 to 2001), Mario Lanthier (CFU – 1993 to 2001), Raj Chohan (CFU – 1993 to 1995), Paul Gill (CFU – 1993 to 1994) 1994: Peter Clarke (BCAC – 1994 to 1994) 1995: John Mathies (BCAC – 1995 to 2000), Charan Gill (CFU – 1995 to Present) 2000: Vic Regier (BCAC – 2000 to 2007), Bill Zylman (BCAC – 2000 to 2010) 2001: Param Grewal (CFU – 2001 to 2008), Jasbir Mann (CFU – 2001 to 2010) 2003: Mark Grafton (BCAC – 2003 to 2007)2006: Ralph McGinn (Chair – 2006 – 2018) 2007: Joy Gammie (BCAC – 2007 to 2017), Tom Hoogendoorn (BCAC – 2007 to 2012) 2010: Guido Konigs (BCAC – 2010 to 2012), Bhupinder Sidhu (CFU – 2010 to Present), Balvindar Aulakh (CFU – 2010 to 2016) 2012: Dick Klein Geltink (BCAC – 2012 to 2016), Gord Mathies (BCAC – 2012 to 2017)2016: Patricia Babij (BCAC – 2016 to Present), Judy Cavanaugh (CFU – 2016 to 2017) 2017: Larry Rast (BCAC – 2017 to Present), Erin Schlacht (BCAC – 2017 to Present), Nina Hansen (CFU – 2017 to Present) 2018: Don Dahr (Chair – 2018 to Present)

AgSafe Through the Years

1993
1993

1993

1993
  • The Governors of the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) recommends the formation and funding of the Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA) to coordinate and direct activities related to health and safety in the agriculture industry.
  • December 23rd, FARSHA receives Certificate of Incorporation certifying that FARSHA is incorporated under the Society Act.
1994
1994

1994

1994
  • Bruce Johnson is appointed General Manager of FARSHA. Beginning on May 2nd, Bruce’s illustrious career would span two decades with FARSHA.
  • Sandeep Mangat hired in the fall and would deliver safety courses in Punjabi for the growing population of farm workers over the next thirteen years, eventually becoming a Field Officer for WorkSafeBC.
  • An office administrator, GeeTee Bala, is added to the team to manage FARSHA’s business operations.
  • FARSHA sets up it’s first office at 5755 Glover Road Langley – home to the association until December 2003, when the office moved to its current location in Walnut Grove. The move would be as a result of the organizations growth.
1995
1995

1995

1995
  • FARSHA hires five Regional Safety Coordinators to work more closely with employers around the province. This proves to be a highly successful strategy for reaching farms and ranches throughout B.C. and plans are made to contract an additional three safety coordinators.
1996
1996

1996

1996
  • FARSHA hires 2 more safety coordinators to service the province and develops industry specific safety programs and resources, including decals and signage, to further support the work of the coordinators and enhance the safety programs. Developing resources and hiring safety coordinators proves to be successful.
1997
1997

1997

1997
  • FARSHA begins providing courses and safety training for pesticide application, in English and Punjabi; WHMIS and hazardous materials safety management; and safety committee training.
  • FARSHA begins developing injury and fatality reports to help the agriculture industry identify cause and prevention.
  • The FARMEDIC program is introduced throughout the province. This program proved to be an essential program for farmers as well as FARSHA.
1998
1998

1998

1998
  • FARSHA services become more diverse. The number of site visits increase rapidly and there is demand from farms in all regions of the province. In response to the rapid growth in the Okanagan, FARSHA hires a French speaking coordinator to reach the hundreds of workers coming to the region from Quebec.
  • FARSHA adds two additional coordinators to the team.
1999
1999

1999

1999
  • FARSHA undergoes an independent performance review. Findings prove what Bruce Johnson always knew – FARSHA is highly regarded by the agriculture industry and seen as a benefit to all farms and ranches in B.C.
  • This cements the foundation for FARSHA’s long-term goal to reduce the number of injuries and illness in the agriculture workforce. This continues to be the organizations mandate.
2000
2000

2000

2000
  • The B.C. Ranching Safety Guide is completed with help and contributions from many ranch industry employers.
  • The agricultural community begins to accept and understand the need for workplace safety. At times a challenge, FARSHA believes they are helping employer and safety coordinator to find common ground.
  • Carolyn Pearce is hired as the new Office Administrator and is still with the association handling finance and office operations.
  • Reg Steward is hired as the Provincial Ranching Safety Coordinator, specifically to assist the ranching industry with its unique health and safety concerns. Reg is now the Superintendent of Field Operations. His philosophy is that “boots on the ground” is the most effective way to succeed in the industry.
2001
2001

2001

2001
  • New injury trends are identified. After reviewing numerous reports from WorkSafeBC (WSBC) detailing workplace injury, it is found that strains, sprains and tears contribute to the bulk of injuries in the industry.
  • Charlene Olm is hired to develop a pilot program for five companies. According to the participants the program created a safer, healthier environment when workers were permitted to take stretching breaks and alternate tasks. FARSHA incorporates this into safety training program materials.
2002
2002

2002

2002
  • This is a year of tragedy in agriculture with 14 agricultural related deaths – five tractor rollover incidents and two equipment entanglement incidents. Tractor and equipment safety remain a focus for AgSafe.
2003
2003

2003

2003
  • B.C.’s agriculture industry continues to see tractor and equipment related safety incidents – six agricultural workers died on the job this year.
  • FARSHA’s logic model to report activities and associated outcomes enables the Executive Director, Bruce Johnson, to guide staff and consultants to address trends and act to resolve injury causal factors.
  • FARSHA expands the implementation of site specific safety programs.
2004
2004

2004

2004
  • Considerable attention is given to the ranching industry this year due to increased injury rates. FARSHA Provincial Ranching Safety Coordinator, Reg Steward focuses on education within the industry, speaking at community centres, conducting on-site consultations, and helping ranchers understand the safety culture.
2005
2005

2005

2005
  • An independent stakeholder review of FARSHA is conducted and finds that FARSHA is successful in providing the necessary and appropriate services to the agricultural industry.
  • Injury and death of workers working in confined spaces is a growing hazard concern. FARSHA begins to educate staff and Coordinators about the hazards and engages subject matter specialists to present to the FARSHA team on the topic.
2006
2006

2006

2006
  • There is a growing demand for an orchard and vineyard industry specific coordinator. FARSHA hires a Provincial Vineyard and Orchard Coordinator. The growth and demand in the industry result in FARSHA making this a permanent position with the organization.
2007
2007

2007

2007
  • FARSHA hosts the National Institute of Farm Safety (NIFS) conference. NIFS is a US association that is now known as the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health, ISASH.
  • FARSHA launches the “50 ROPS in BC” pilot project. The program is offered to all farmers in B.C. to equip their tractor with an engineered ROPS system for cost of $100.00. The program is highly successful.
2008
2008

2008

2008
  • FARSHA continues to grow and increase staff in the Lower Mainland and in the field. Changes in the agriculture workforce prompt the association to hire a Spanish speaking consultant to assist with the safety education of the workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP).
  • FARSHA becomes the agriculture industry’s certifying partner for the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program. This program recognizes a company’s diligence to improve their health and safety culture.
2009
2009

2009

2009
  • FARSHA makes big strides in safety solutions – improving hazard identification practices for greenhouse picking carts and mushroom harvesting platforms. The “50 ROPS in BC” program wraps up, and the development of narrative simulation exercises begins.
2010
2010

2010

2010
  • FARSHA develops safety materials for incoming SAWP workers and distributes materials during visits to farms and ranches throughout the province.
  • Hazards of working in confined spaces continue to be an issue in agriculture. FARSHA staff and consultants are regularly sharing safety awareness materials and information.
2011
2011

2011

2011
  • More farmers are sharing safety information and practices with each other, and proving that a safe workplace is a productive one.
  • On-site consultations continue to prove that face-to-face is the most effective form of education.
2012
2012

2012

2012
  • B.C. agriculture is growing (no pun intended) at a staggering rate. More and more temporary workers are required to work. FARSHA begins producing more safety brochures, signage and booklets to meet the needs of the industry.
2013
2013

2013

2013
  • This is the 20th year of operation for FARSHA.
  • Digital technology is now in common use in the agriculture industry. Computer programs and mobile apps farmers and ranchers manage their operations.
  • FARSHA is delivering safety resources, training materials and equipment check lists in digital download formats and using social media to connect with the industry on a broader scale.
  • FARSHA is proud to have a suite of resources and training programs for workers in languages other than English.
2014
2014

2014

2014
  • Bruce Johnson turns over the reins of FARSHA after an astounding 20-year career with the association.  A retirement party is held for Bruce at Redwoods Golf and Country Club with family, friends, staff and key partner organizations such as the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) and the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) in attendance.
  • Wendy Bennett becomes Executive Director of FARSHA. Wendy marked the occasion by picking up the plant her Mom bought her and carried it into the bigger, better office – her fortress to this day. Ruling from the top is a tough job but with the help of many who came before and stayed – we made it easy – or hopefully easier – for Wendy to make the transition. Wendy still holds the Executive Director position.
2015
2015

2015

2015
  • FARSHA experiences a year of transition. The office receives a face lift; the organization re-brands as AgSafe with a new logo and website that better depicts who we are and where our services are available.  FARSHA remains the association’s legal name and is occasionally used in loving memory of the early days.
  • A major safety awareness campaign is designed and delivered to increase the use of seatbelts and ROPS in tractors. Tractors and equipment continue to be one of the leading causes of injury and death in agriculture.
  • The first publication of AgSafe’s monthly newsletter “Dirt on Ag” was January 2015
2016
2016

2016

2016
  • AgSafe launches the “#AgSafetyChamp” social media campaign to engage the agriculture community in talking about safety. Farmers and ranchers from across the province are asked to share their workplace safety knowledge on Twitter. Each month AgSafe profiled the best safety tip and acknowledged the individual on social media and in the Dirt on Ag e-news for their contributions to safety in agriculture.
  • Proudly, AgSafe has COR certified 35 employers to date. The growth in this program continues.
2017
2017

2017

2017
  • Bachmann Farms is announced the #AgSafetyChamp of the year. The Champion of Agriculture Award is presented to Bachmann Farms by AgSafe at the BC Agriculture Council Agri-Food Industry Gala on January 25.
  • Staff and consultants continue to work closely with employers and workers to increase awareness about equipment safety, animal handling safety, ladder safety and injury duration. These four issues have been a focus and challenge for the industry for many years.
  • B.C. sees the worst wildfire season in recollection. Reg Steward, AgSafe Provincial Ranching Safety consultant works closely with ranchers, fire fighters, and police in the Cariboo Regional District to facilitate safe evacuations and help reduce the general turmoil.
2018
2018

2018

2018
  • Recognition of the importance of workplace health and safety continues to grow.  AgSafe’s work continues … our impact in the agricultural industry of BC will carry on at a steady pace with promising results, especially if the last 25 years are any indication.