Ag innovation award program seeks nominees

New innovations and ideas developed on the farm are contributing to local economies, boosting the agri-food industry, and offering more choices for the consumer.
In 2006, the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was established to recognize and foster innovation in the agri-food industry.
The five-year, $2.5-million program (now in its third year) encourages the development of prosperity in Ontario’s rural communities and on farms by recognizing innovations that add value to existing products, create jobs, and drive economic growth.
As many as 55 regional awards, valued at $5,000 each, are presented each year.
The recipients of the Premier’s Award, of up to $100,000, and the Minister’s Award, of up to $50,000, are selected from the regional winners.
Individuals and/or groups representing agri-food businesses and organizations can submit applications. To be eligible, at least one of the applicants must be a farmer (eligible to obtain an Ontario Farm Business Registration number).
The innovation must have been developed and have been in use on an Ontario farm, or be in the planning stages of development with a business plan towards implementation.
It also must have the potential for use on a broader basis and demonstrate a positive effect on the agricultural industry.
Examples of types of innovation include, but are not limited to:
•improved farm practices;
•responding to consumer demands;
•environmental stewardship;
•health and safety on the farm;
•energy innovations;
•education and marketing of agriculture to society; and
•local food
This year’s applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, and will be reviewed by two independent panels comprised of a cross-section of Ontario’s agri-food industry.
Additional information, guidelines, and applications forms are available on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ website or by calling the northern regional office at 1-800-461-6132.
Dates to remember
•Sept. 23 -25–Large animal clinic dates for Dr. Blair Simonson (call 274-7393 to book an appointment); and
•Sept. 27—Harvest dinner, Devlin (tickets cost $25 each).

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