From the Ontario Government Newsroom:
Now in its fifth year, the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program recognizes and rewards outstanding innovations developed by farmers, agri-food businesses and organizations.
There have been 55 winners each year including a Premier’s Award recipient and a Minister’s Award recipient.
Paul and Rosie Hill are ahead of the curve when it comes to growing functional food on the farm. They’re the first pork producers in Canada to offer consumers pork products enhanced with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. These are considered essential nutrients for the maintenance of general human health, normal growth and development. The pork is also enhanced with organic selenium, an antioxidant considered an essential trace element in the human diet. Together, they support the normal physical development of the brain, eyes and nerves. The Hills were already raising hogs, but they wanted to take things a step further by enriching their herd’s feed to make a healthier product for consumers. In just two years, Willowgrove Hill has seen their nutritionally enhanced pork products jump from two to 90 per cent of their total sales.
Milk is flowing more smoothly at Duizer Farms thanks to its innovative robotic dairy barn design. By bringing together different features from several barn designs, it enables a single producer to manage a milking herd of up to 120 cows. The investment has paid dividends in labour savings and improved herd health. Features such as a central handling facility and specialized gating allows for quick, easy sorting of cows and application of routine treatments, which has resulted in improved animal health and productivity. The barn’s design has both of the robots facing in the same direction, so cows don’t need to be retrained if they’re moved to another group. And perimeter feeding provides for cow stalls that are shaded and out of the rain, which improves cow comfort. If you build it, they will come. Not only are the cows coming home, more than 1,000 dairy producers from around the world have come to visit this innovative barn.
About the Awards Program
The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation program was initially funded for a period of five years starting in 2007. In November 2010, the Ontario government announced that it will continue to recognize agri-food innovation excellence through a permanent program.
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