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Ontario government awards top on-farm innovations


April 14, 2009
By OMAFRA

Topics

April 10, 2009, Toronto, Ont. – Ontario’s recent Premier’s Summit on
Agri-Food was the place where two innovators were recognized with the
province’s top awards for agri-food innovation excellence.

April 10, 2009, Toronto, Ont. – Ontario’s recent Premier’s Summit on Agri-Food was the place where two innovators were recognized with the province’s top awards for agri-food innovation excellence.

Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company in Prince Edward County was the recipient of the Premier’s Award of $100,000. The dairy was recognized for its work in using green technology to construct the largest artisan goat and sheep milk cheese manufacturing facility in eastern Ontario.

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Hillside Gardens Limited of Bradford, Ont. (Simcoe County) received the Minister’s Award of $50,000 for its innovation in implementing an electronic “gate-to-plate” traceability program.

Ron Gleason, general manager of Hillside Gardens, redesigned an existing software program for use as a farm traceability program. It’s capable of tracing all field activities from harvest, to packing, to shipping dates and destinations. Lot IDs are assigned in each step in the process, and the end product is dated with a bar code sticker. The wireless, computerized system will only allow product that has been assigned to a load to be picked and scanned. This improves many aspects of the business, from rotation and quality issues to recall efficiency and inventory control. The system provides “real time” inventory and work is underway to expand its capabilities.

The recipients are being recognized under the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence, a $2.5 million, five-year program (now in its third year) established to recognize innovators who contribute to the success of Ontario’s agri-food sector.

The innovations of 55 regional winners, who will receive $5,000 each, will be announced at regional award ceremonies later this spring.