Innovative Farmer of the Year

Every year, the Innovative Farmers of Ontario chooses a farmer who exemplifies great soil stewardship, progressive thinking, and the drive to explore ways to improve their farming practices. Mike Belan fills the bill and has been awarded the Innovator of the Year Award for 2020.  Mike is a strong believer in the benefits and value cover crops combined with other soil friendly practices bring to the  health, resiliency and bottom line on his farm…… read more

Warren began experimenting with cover crops, devoting acres of land to research in 2012. His primary focus today is on interseeding cereal rye into corn ahead of soybeans in fall and mitigating soil compaction. Ultimately, his 10-year goal is to be 100 per cent no-till, a move that will cost significant investment in drainage. Strip tillage, he said, will be a great crutch in the transition. “It is amazing how quickly the soil changes, and from my mentors’ anecdotes I’m reasonably confident that within the 10-year timeline we’ll maintain – if not increase – corn yields during the transition,” he concluded. .. read more

Mark Richards worked hard to critically assess and improve his own farming practices over the course of twenty years starting with cover crops, then progressing into no till and strip till, notably in sugar beets and tomatoes a practice not typically used in these crops. The results are positive, as Richards feels they have better water infiltration in the strip tilled fields, and they are starting to see more stable and structured soils, their crop yields are at or above county averages, and diesel fuel consumption and hours on machinery have both been reduced by about one-third. He continues to look for ways to further decrease tractor hours and fuel consumption and maintenance. ​.. read more