The 2018 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence is Open for Applications

The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program recognizes outstanding agriculture and agri-food related innovators including producers, processors, and agri-food organizations.PA_genericEN

The objectives of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Program are to:

  • Recognize and encourage innovators in the agri-food sector
  • Foster farm-level innovation
  • Raise awareness about the importance of agri-food innovation and its impact on the Ontario economy

Examples of innovation areas include but are not limited to:

  • improved business practices
  • response to consumer demands (e.g. new production and processing methods, product development)
  • response to expanding consumer tastes (e.g. locally-grown and produced world foods) collaborations (strategic alliances, cross-sector partnerships)
  • environmental stewardship
  • energy and bio-economy
  • health and safety
  • food safety and traceability
  • education and marketing of the agriculture and food industry to society

Submit your application by 11:59 p.m. on May 25, 2018 to be eligible for a chance to receive one of the following awards:

  • Premier’s Award – one, $75,000 award
  • Minister’s Award – one, $50,000 award
  • Leaders in Innovation Award – three, $25,000 awards
  • Provincial award – 45 – $5,000 awards

To read about the more than 575 innovation projects that have been recognized since the program started in 2006 visit Agri-Food Innovation. These include innovations that have:

  • Modified equipment to enhance production
  • Responded to consumer demands by developing a new product
  • Implemented new technology to increase efficiencies

For more information, contact:

Darlene Harrietha
Premier’s Award Program Analyst
Email: darlene.harrietha@ontario.ca
Phone: 519-826-4847

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Do you have a water contingency plan?

dry pond

flooded corn

In 2016, many areas of the province saw very warm and dry conditions, and many wells were still dry leading into the winter. In other years, like the start to the 2017 growing season, the province experienced periods of excessive rain, leading to saturated soils and flooding. Both situations create many challenges for livestock and poultry farmers.

No one can control the weather, but we can plan for it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) encourages you to plan for future weather – conserving water and using it efficiently can help during low water conditions, and having effective drainage systems in place can help with saturated soil and runoff.

Things to consider for low water conditions:

  • Plan ahead: Know how much water your animals need and try to predict how long it would take for your water sources to run dry. Have a contingency plan ready that you can carry out in case your water sources have maxed out. Use the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s Emergency Plan low water worksheet to help you with the contingency plan.
  • Include a list of alternative water sources in your contingency plan. This can include water haulers and well drillers. Keep in mind that these sources may be unavailable at the height of low water conditions, so you’ll need to plan ahead.
  • Think about installing water-metering equipment to get accurate measurements of water use.
  • Apply for a Permit to Take Water through the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (special rules and circumstances apply).
  • Monitor heat stress in your livestock and poultry and have management solutions on-hand when heat stress runs high, but water levels run low.
  • Look at your feed inventory now. If stocks are low for this time of year, consider looking for additional or alternative feed for fall and winter. It’s not too early!

Things to consider for excessive water conditions:

  • Look at your feed supply, as excessive rain can affect planting and harvesting times.
  • Make sure you have enough straw or other bedding materials.
  • Examine your property, your buildings and hard surfaces (like loading areas and parking lots) for flood risk areas. Install eavestroughs to redirect water away from your buildings and create a drainage plan. Plan the steps you’ll need to take to move livestock, feed and equipment in the event of a flood.
  • Create a plan to manage barnyard/feedlot runoff. Determine if you have enough liquid manure storage capacity to store extra material from wet barnyards, and have a plan ready if you don’t (such as using a neighbour’s storage). Also consider what you’ll do to avoid manure storage overflow from rain and flood water.
  • Have a plan ready in the event that manure spreading is delayed due to rain and your storages are full.
  • Think about your electricity generators – are they adequate for your farm’s needs in case of a power outage?
  • Pre-plan alternate routes to avoid travelling on flooded roads, considering services both into and out of the farm (such as milk trucks and feed trucks).

OMAFRA is working with other provincial ministries, conservation authorities and other partners to develop ways to help you manage water. There are existing resources that can help you, too:

Ontario has business risk management programs in place to help you when factors beyond your control affect your operation. Contact Agricorp for more information about these programs.

Visit OMAFRA’s Adverse Weather, Low Water, Irrigation and Drainage web pages for resources to help you prepare for various weather conditions.

Do you have questions about contingency planning? Contact OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

ontario.ca/omafra

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New Food Safety and Traceability online courses!

Give your company a competitive edge – take free eLearning courses to learn more about industry best practices and to be more competitive in the marketplace! Continue reading

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New, free soil health publications available to order!

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is rolling out a total of 21 new soil health publications. These publications provide best management practices to help you preserve and conserve soil while improving soil health and crop production. Check out these five new titles on our Soil Health in Ontario web page: Continue reading

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Did you hear? We’ve made great improvements to the Agricultural Information Atlas!

Jennifer Jarvis, Stakeholder Communications and Marketing Advisor We’re excited to let you know about the latest updates that we made to the Agricultural Information Atlas (AIA). What is the AIA? It’s the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) free, easy-to-use online tool that can help you to:

via Did you hear? We’ve made great improvements to the Agricultural Information Atlas! — ONfruit

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Preventing Farm Fires

Did you know?

Faulty electrical systems cause approximately 40 per cent of barn fires with a determined cause, making it one of the leading known causes of barn fires. Continue reading

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Call Before You Cut

Municipalities are responsible for developing their own by-laws. Your municipality may have passed by-laws that determine if you can remove a tree from your land or woodlot. These by-laws may include conditions that affect how you carry out the work, including the need for a qualified professional and/or a […]

via Call Before You Cut — ONfruit (read more here)

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