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Harvesting New Ideas for Agriculture

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Harvesting New Ideas for Agriculture

McGuinty Government Rewards On-Farm Innovation

Two Ontario farmers are receiving the province's top agri-food innovation awards.

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

  • William Nightingale, of B & C Nightingale Farms (LaSalatte), is the recipient of the Premier's Award of $100,000. He was recognized for his work in improving Ontario's fresh vegetable yields by pioneering the use of high tunnels over vegetable field crops.
  • David Freeman, of Freeman Farms (Meaford), received the Minister's Award of $50,000 for his innovation in developing freeze-dry technology and building a state-of-the-art processing plant equipped to process botanicals for use in nutraceuticals and whole foods.

The innovations of 55 regional winners, who will receive $5,000 each, will be highlighted at regional award ceremonies in the coming weeks.

The awards were presented at the fourth Premier's Summit on Agri-Food. The summit's theme this year is 'Buy Ontario'. Participants will discuss ways of growing the demand for local foods, which will benefit the province's farmers, rural economies, and the environment.

Quick Facts

  • Since its launch, the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence has attracted 358 applications highlighting on-farm innovations.
  • Ontario's agri-food sector is the second largest goods manufacturing industry in the province (after the auto industry) and contributes $30 billion to the economy every year.

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“I continue to be impressed by the calibre of ideas and products our agri-food sector produces. By encouraging more ideas and innovations, we are helping to build a stronger future for this and the next generation of Ontarians.”

Dalton McGuinty

Premier of Ontario

“It is important to showcase the great innovations that are taking place within our agricultural and rural communities. By supporting innovative ideas and building consumer awareness, we are working together to make Ontario's agri-food industry better and stronger.”

Leona Dombrowsky

Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs



Business and Economy