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2006 Regional Award Winners
The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) at Chesley District High School helps students learn the business of agriculture.One of three pilot projects implemented by the Ontario Ministry of Education, the SHSM provides students interested in agriculture with co-operative education experiences, both on the farm and in agri-businesses, such as equipment dealerships, hatcheries, feed supply stores and farm construction. Students must complete four courses directly related to animal science, horticulture and business.Making this happen was a real team effort, involving the local community, agri-business, the school, the municipality and the Ministry of Education. The initiative began in 2004 with the updating and renovation of an existing barn and the subsequent development of the curriculum.The pilot was launched in 2006.
Len Jewitt of BLT Farms Inc. uses anaerobic digestion to turn poultry manure and corn silage into energy.With a lot of research and the help of a consultation, Jewitt built an anaerobic digester that turns about 4,000 tons of poultry manure (and the same amount of corn silage to dilute the nitrates) into methane gas.The gas is stored and cleaned; the water and sulphur are removed.The methane gas fuels an engine that powers a generator and heats the barn - replacing the previously-used propane.The hot water is captured, transported underground through insulated pipes, and used as a heat source in various sheds, poultry barns and Jewitt's house.This innovation produces so much energy that Jewitt is investigating the opportunity to feed into the Hydro One grid.
Doug Calhoun has brought together three separate business people - a grocery storeowner and two beef producers, to buy a small abattoir to add value to their products. From three employees in 2003 to two retail stores and 45 employees today, the business (West Grey Premium Beef) has expanded to slaughtering cattle and cull cows from other producers, as well as lambs and calves for veal. It has also expanded into the Halal meat market in Toronto, and created an innovative branding program to promote the products.
Marius Botden and Global Fruit have contributed tremendously to the Ontario apple industry - from developing a rootstock that could perform in a high-density orchard in Ontario conditions to identifying new varieties that meet changing consumer demands, to implementing the most efficient techniques in orchard management.Here, the first orchard with a density of 1,175 apple trees per acre was planted, and new machinery developed for faster, high-volume tree planting and less handling of ripened fruit.
Work smarter, not harder.That's what Mary Haugh of LMR Inc. does now thanks to an innovative new tool she developed called the LONGARM (patented).This retractable, lightweight fabric gate means one person can move any number of hogs in a fraction of the time, and with much less effort than it takes to move pigs using a crowding board.The LONGARM allows producers to move their livestock more effectively and more safely and with less stress and less force.The swine producer's new tool can also be used with auto sorters, a relatively new introduction to the swine industry.Haugh is now developing a range of accessories to support the use of the LONGARM with the auto sorter.
The Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative was formed to generate better revenues for individual members.The co-operative brokers goat milk to cheese producers and processes fluid milk products, has strong relationships with buyers to match supply and demand, and promotes the benefits of goat milk to consumers at trade shows and conferences.
At Pine River Ranch, environmental stewardship and green energy are getting results. Careful, intensive pasture management means high-quality grazing for the operation's 600 beef cows.Today, there is a riparian zone along the ranch's waterways; manure is composted and runoff eliminated; land has been set aside under the Green Cover program, fences have been reconstructed and trees planted in a bid to evaluate the potential for a shelter belt.The Brielmanns even use solar energy to power remote water systems for their cattle.
Before BSE hit, this company relied on the U.S. market for 80 per cent of its revenues. When the border closed, the operators got busy developing and implementing new ways to get their products into local markets. With product differentiation, and working with others to expand its reach through farmers markets, Rainy River Elk Company continues to thrive today.
Here's a "Gouda" idea. Jacob Schep expanded his dairy farm to add a Gouda cheese processing plant.The plant is the only Gouda cheese plant in northern Ontario and also has an educational component - the public are invited in to watch the process. This innovative approach is providing a product and service to Northern Ontario residents and creating a movement in Ontario to encourage artisan at cheese making.