Award to salute farm innovators

Innovation is a crucial ingredient in the success of Ontario’s farmers.
To recognize and foster innovation in the agri-food industry, the Ontario government has established the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Over the next five years, $2.5 million will be awarded to outstanding farm innovators. There will be up to 55 regional award winners annually, with a cash prize of $5,000 each.
From these winners, a Minister’s Award of up to $50,000 and a Premier’s Award of up to $100,000 will be selected.
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 used on an Ontario farm, must have the potential for use on a broader basis, and for having a positive effect on the agriculture industry.
Examples of innovation include, but are not limited to:
•improved farm practices, including business practices response to consumer demands (e.g., value-added, marketing, strategic alliances, etc.);
•environmental stewardship;
•health and safety on the farm;
•energy innovations; or
•education and marketing of agriculture to society.
Four broad criteria will be used to identify the winning innovations: uniqueness and originality, stage of development, the impact or benefits of the innovation, and adoption and/or commercialization.
Details of the process, as well as applications and guidelines are available at or by calling 1-877-424-1300.
Applications and guidelines also are available at the OMAFRA office in Emo.
To be considered for the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence, applications must be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs by Nov. 30.
< *c>Dates to remember
•Oct. 21—Rainy River Federation of Agriculture annual meeting.