The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is sending out a call for nominees to farmers in the area who have created an innovative technology and are eligible for the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Each year, up to 55 regional innovations or inventions are recognized. Winners in each region will receive a plaque, a farm-gate sign, promotional material and a cash prize of $5,000. From those selected farmers, the two best innovations will be chosen to receive either the Minister’s Award, valued at up to $50,000, or the Premier’s Award valued at up to $100,000.
Previous winners of these awards include farmers who changed to switch grass to heat a 1,500 sow operation and reduced the farm’s energy costs and environmental footprint, or who meticulously tested and developed three lines of disease resistant roses, to name a few.
To be eligible for the award, farmers must submit an innovation that has already been developed and is in use on an Ontario farm or be in the planning stages of development with a business plan toward implementation within the agriculture and agri-food sector. The innovation must also have the potential to be used on a broader basis and demonstrate a positive effect on the agricultural industry.
The application process includes a questionnaire which can be filled out and submitted online, or mailed in to an address provided on the website. Included in the questionnaire are questions about how the innovation was thought of, created and developed as well as what the potential broader uses of this innovation might be for other farmers in the area. Additionally, farmers must describe how their innovation will have a positive impact for the Ontario agri-food sector and what economic and social benefits (to the environment, the community, the economy etc) will come of this idea.
To submit an application for yourself of someone you know, visit www.ontario.ca/agrifoodinnovation or call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300. Applications are due into the Ministry by Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.