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Ontario Announces Next Excellence in Agriculture Award Recipient

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Ontario Announces Next Excellence in Agriculture Award Recipient

Celebrating the Cultivation of New and Innovative Ideas in Ontario Agriculture

WINCHESTER - Today, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, joined by MPP Jim McDonell, announced Dairy Distillery as a recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Agriculture Awards.

Known as 'Vodkow', Dairy Distillery uses innovation to produce a new spirit from milk sugar by applying a specific process to convert the milk byproduct into alcohol, with anything not being bottled put safely back into the environment. Dairy Distillery will also help Ontario dairy farmers by purchasing milk permeate, most of which would normally go to waste at a cost to the farmer.

"Ontario's agri-food sector is innovative and drives economic growth in our province," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Agri-food innovators like Dairy Distillery push boundaries for expanding economic development. Their innovation takes unused milk sugar and transforms it into a smooth and clean spirit, creating a great opportunity for dairy farmers to reduce waste product."

The milk sugar is found in high quantities in the byproduct of ultrafiltered milk that, until now, has been viewed as waste, resulting in a strain on the environment and disposal costs for dairy farmers.

The Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector, or advanced technological innovation.

Ontario is a strong supporter of the agri-food sector and is committed to the province's farmers and food processors, who produce more than 200 food and beverage products to feed our local communities and the world. The sector contributes over $39.5 billion to the local economy and employs one in eight Ontarians.

"We're thrilled to receive the Excellence in Agriculture Award for our efforts to create new opportunities for dairy farmers by making vodka from an unused dairy by-product. Our vodka, that we call Vodkow, is unbelievably smooth and beats leading brands in blind taste tests. Vodkow was recently listed at the LCBO and is now available in select Ottawa stores," said Omid McDonald, Founder/CEO.

"The innovations recognized through these awards will help strengthen the agri-food sector as we continue to compete and succeed on the global stage," said Hardeman.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients were chosen by a committee of agri-food sector leaders. The awards recognize innovation for one primary producer, one processor, and one agri-food organization, and gives honorary mention to an additional six innovations.

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Business and Economy Rural and North