Recognizing Farm Innovation In Ontario

A Grey County organic mushroom operation and a dairy goat operation in Huron County are two of the several organizations that were presented with the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.

The award recognizes and celebrates agri-food producers, processors and organizations who are helping create jobs, boosting the economy, and supportiong a sustainable environment through their innovative ideas and projects.

Wylie Mycologicals Ltd. is in Grey County and is an organic mushroom operation that has worked on a versatile growing block for producing native and specialty mushrooms on a commercial scale.

The highly adaptable growing surface is ideally suited to meet the specific temperature, light, humidity and oxygen needs of different mushroom varieties. Indoor and outdoor blocks are available for commercial growers, while home-growing kits can be purchased by individual mushroom enthusiasts. Specialty mushrooms are a trend that is gaining traction, with increasing growth in recent years.

In Huron County, Par-Chier Farms Ltd. is a dairy goat operation.

In 2015, the operators of Par-Chier Farms travelled to Holland to check out various approaches to dairy goat management. Based on the research, they chose a rotary parlour that incorporates both feeding and milking into a time-saving system. The 80-stall facility makes it possible to milk 800 goats per hour. Each animal wears a scanner that stores easy to access information about its specific dietary needs and tracks when the goat is due for breeding and hoof-trimming.

Before Par-Chier installed the computerized equipment, their goats were producing 3.2 litres of milk per day. Today, production has increased to four litres per goat each day, with a planned expansion to 1,200 animals.

Other award winners included former Farm Director here at CKNX Andrew Campbell.

Representing Middlesex County, his Fresh Air Media helps urban populations learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Campbell is starting important conversations using the power of modern technology to discuss food production, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – and establishing trust from gate to plate.

Other award winners were:

Heeman Strawberry Farm in Middlesex County
Clear Creek Farms Inc., a beef producer in Chatham-Kent
Tomecek Agronomy Services Inc. in Chatham Kent
Veritas Farm Business Management in Chatham Kent
Twin Creeks Greenhouse Inc. in Lambton County
Shorequip Sandy Shores Farm Ltd. in Norfolk County that produces asparagus.