Cathy Haehnel (left), Regional Manager with the Rural Economic Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs presenting the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence to Woody and Catherine Van Arkel.
Our congratulations go out to Laurent (Woody) and Catherine Van Arkel for being names Regional Winners of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence!
Laurent Van Arkel is a sustainable soil health champion. Over the years, the second-generation farmer has gotten his hands dirty, developing and promoting innovative cover-crop techniques and specialized equipment. He has pioneered a reduced tillage system for sugar beets and developed a customized manure injector that decreases run-off and minimizes soil disturbance. His modified seed drill enables him to interseed his main crop with an established cover crop. He’s also actively experimented with cover crops like sunflowers, rye grass and other legumes to protect the soil and rapidly sequester nutrients. Keen to share what he’s learned, Van Arkel regularly hosts on-farm tours, consults with researchers and shares his success stories to audiences across North America. In doing so, he’s helping sustain Ontario’s cropland for future generations.