KINGSTON – For the first time in many years the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) held its annual meeting east of Toronto. This year, for two days in early February, the Limestone City of Kingston hosted delegates and members for its 2019 AGM.  Although I have been a member of the Grenville County Branch for many years, this was my first  time attending the annual meeting; it won’t be my last.

At this meeting, the family of the late Don Hill announced the establishment of the Don Hill Legacy Award. Prior to his untimely accidental death, Don Hill was a farmer in Grey County. He was a strong supporter of the OSCIA, acting as its president in 1988. In the early nineties, Hill played a key role in promoting the new concept of Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) for Ontario farmers. With this new award, the Hill family expects Don’s passion for environmental management to live on and be recognized. Contributions to the award can be made through the OSCIA website.

Under the terms of the Legacy Award the OSCIA will grant an award of $1,000 at its annual meeting to a farm business in Ontario that demonstrates innovation with respect to farm environmental management. It is anticipated that the winning farmer will provide a summary of the innovation at the next AGM. An application form will be available for download from the website and must be submitted by Dec. 1 of each year.

According to the OSCIA website, the criteria includes: “being an Ontario farm business; having an EFP that has been verified within the past five years; a farmer can enter as often as they wish but can only win once; and any proprietary rights in the innovation remain the property of the farmer.

The Eastern Ontario county branches of the OSCIA should actively review farm operations in this area and nominate worthy farmers for this award. Farmers should also keep this award in mind when incorporating innovative ideas into their environmental farm planning. Don Hill’s life was obviously spent in the service of agriculture and contribution to the award and competition for the award will recognize his legacy.