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Ontario celebrates excellence in ag

Ontario celebrates excellence in ag

Members of the province’s agri-food industry can apply for awards in one of five categories

By Paula Schuck

The 2019 Excellence in Agriculture program, which celebrates innovation in the agri-food industry, is now open for applications.

Individuals and organizations can apply under one of five categories:

  • Farmer
  • Processor
  • Agri-food organization
  • Agri-food innovator
  • Youth under 29

The latter category is a new addition this year to recognize the achievements of young producers. Ontarians under 29, who have an innovation with a direct link to agri-food, are encouraged to apply.

Innovations recognized through this program have potential to help move the agri-food sector forward. The top innovator in each category will be honoured with a plaque and recipients will also appear in a promotional video. A further 15 innovators will receive honourable mention certificates.

“Our farm and food businesses are leaders in innovation, and I am continually impressed by their bright ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. Innovation is key to the ongoing success of the sector and it’s something our government values and supports,” Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, told Farms.com.

“That’s why we recognize our industry’s innovators through the Excellence in Agriculture Program. It’s also why we work as part of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between my ministry and the University of Guelph, to advance research and innovation in the sector. I’m proud of our agri-food sector’s commitment to innovation and contribution to the economic success of our province.”

The ministry received over 108 applications for the 2018 awards. OMAFRA announced three top awards and six honourable mentions over the summer. The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario was the first recipient of the Excellence in Agriculture Awards.

OMAFRA is accepting applications for the 2019 program until Oct. 11. To apply visit: www.omafra.on.gov.ca/english/excel_agric/index.html

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