By: Janice LeBoeuf, Vegetable Crops Specialist, OMAFRA
The agri-food sector has always been innovative in running businesses, adapting practices and collaborating to compete in the world economy. To help spur and to celebrate this innovative spirit, the Government of Ontario created the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program.
Have you developed and implemented a unique product or process that helps foster innovation in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector? Apply and you could be eligible to receive one of these awards:
- Premier’s Award (one award valued at $75,000)
- Minister’s Award (one award valued at $50,000)
- Leaders in Innovation Awards (three awards valued at $25,000 each)
- Provincial Awards (45 awards valued at $5,000 each)
Primary producers/farmers, processors and agri-food organizations are invited to apply. You can apply with a range of innovative projects, including projects that have shown innovation in environmental stewardship and bio-energy. Some examples of previous environmental project award winners:
- In 2009, Leamington Area Drip Irrigation won the top level Premier’s Award for their project to improve water efficiency on 13 partner farms. The final pipeline is 36 kilometres long and the system can precisely monitor the amount of water being delivered from Lake Erie to 2,500 acres of tomatoes in the Leamington area.
- Truly Green won an award in 2014 for their system that uses by-products from a neighbouring ethanol plant to make their greenhouses carbon neutral.
- Van Arkel Farms won an award in 2016 for their soil health projects. Some of their innovations include experimenting with different cover crops for soil protection and rapid sequestration of nutrients, pioneering a reduced tillage system and developing a custom manure injector that decreases runoff and minimized soil disturbance.
There are many different areas and projects that could qualify beyond environmental stewardship. Download the 2017 Program Guidebook and Application Form at ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation. The guidebook gives ideas for different innovative areas and projects, but applicants are not limited to this list. Read about past Premier’s Award winners at ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation for more project ideas.
Apply today for a chance to be a Premier’s Award winner! Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017. You can find submission information in the guidebook.
Contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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