By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo
Applications are now being accepted for the fifth year of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program.
The deadline for submissions is Nov. 15, with the awards to be announced in 2011.
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was established in 2006 to recognize and foster innovation in the agri-food industry.
The five-year, $2.5-million program (now in its final 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, can be presented each year.
Recipients of the Premier’s Award (up to $100,000) and the Minister’s Award (up to $50,000) are selected from the regional winners.
A farmer, primary producer, groups of farmers, combination of agri-food businesses, or agri-food related organizations all are eligible for recognition under this initiative.
A farmer must be one of the applicants in any group (i.e., 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.
The innovation also must have the potential for use on a broader basis and demonstrate a positive effect on the agricultural industry.
Examples of types of innovations include, but are not limited to:
•improved farm practices;
•responding to consumer demands;
•health and safety on the farm;
•education and marketing of agriculture to society;
•local food; and
This year’s applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15.
Eligible applications 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 at www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/premier_award/app_info.htm or by calling the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
Learn more about past award-winning innovations by visiting www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/premier_award/2009/winners/index.htm
In its first four years, the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation program has attracted more than 700 applications highlighting on-farm innovations.