Province looking to reward innovative farming

Innovation is a crucial ingredient in the success of Ontario’s farmers.
To recognize and further foster innovation in the agri-food industry, the provincial government established the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in 2006 to reward outstanding farmer-innovators.
This five-year program will award $2.5 million 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.
Farmers, primary producers, groups of farmers, combinations of agri-food businesses, or a agri-food related organization all are eligible for recognition under this initiative.
However, a farmer must be one of the applicants of any group.
In order to apply for the award, the innovation must have been developed and be 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 potential for use on a broader basis and demonstrate a positive effect on the agricultural industry.
Only one application/nomination per applicant/nominee can be submitted in any one year.
Applications/nominations will not be carried over to the next year. New forms must be submitted.
Examples of innovation include, but are not limited to:
•improved farm practices (e.g., technology, business practices, processes, etc.);
•response to consumer demands (e.g., value added, marketing, strategic alliances, etc.);
•environmental stewardship;
•health and safety on the farm;
•energy innovations; and
•education and marketing of agriculture to society.
The following criteria will be used to identify the winning innovations: uniqueness and originality, development, adoption and/or commercialization, impact or benefits, broader use, and on-farm use.
Details of the process, as well as applications and guidelines, are available at www.ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation or by calling 1-877-424-1300.
Applications and guidelines also will be 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 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
< *c>Dates to remember
Sept. 6-8—Dr. Stacey will be in the area (call 1-204-326-3955 to book an appointment); and
Sept. 8—Cattle sale at the Stratton sales yard

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