Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

November 07, 2005 14:17 ET

2005 Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence Winners

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF) today recognized dedication, leadership and outstanding achievements in the agriculture and agri-food industry with the presentation of the 2005 Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence.

"The Canadians who are being honoured here today represent everything that makes Canadian agriculture and agri-food the best in the world: dedication, hard work, and innovative thinking," said Paul Steckle, MP Huron-Bruce, who attended the event on behalf of Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. "Their contributions to the industry keep it moving in the right direction and I congratulate them for their notable achievements."

"The Royal is extremely proud to again be the host of the 2005 Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence," said Michael Belcourt, President and Chairman of the Board of the Royal. "There has been incredible advancement and innovation made in Canadian agriculture and this is a great opportunity to recognize the individuals and their achievements."

The awards were presented at a special luncheon in Toronto co-hosted by the RAWF and AAFC, in front of an audience of influential members of producer organizations and food associations, business and community leaders, and representatives of provincial and federal governments. Following the luncheon, Mr. Steckle and Mr. Belcourt unveiled an exhibit honouring the winners at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada exhibit at the Royal.

The Canadian Agri-Food Awards of Excellence were launched by AAFC and the Royal in 2001. The awards recognize achievement in five categories: environmental stewardship, agricultural awareness and education, innovation, voluntarism, and agri-food export.

The 2005 award recipients are:
- Voluntarism - Pierre Bercier, St. Isidore, Ontario
- Agri-Food Export - Al Safa Halal Inc., Cambridge, Ontario
- Environmental Stewardship - British Columbia Agriculture Council,
Kelowna, BC
- Innovation - Oleanergie F2001, for Soy Protein Isolate Products
and Processing Technology, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec
- Agricultural Awareness and Education - The University of Alberta
"There's a Heifer in Your Tank" Team, Edmonton, Alberta

Information on the recipients is provided in the attached



Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Voluntarism -Pierre
Bercier, St-Isidore, Ontario

Pierre Bercier is a Franco-Ontarian dairy producer, who has opened
his farm operation to visitors from around the world. He delights in
showing his award-winning operation, widely considered a model of
excellence, quality and sound management, to school children,
agricultural students or ordinary consumers. He passionately explains
his occupation and always provides information-packed presentations
on such topics as genetic selection, animal comfort, animal nutrition
and forage production. Mr. Bercier has extensive experience as a
volunteer in many agricultural and rural organizations, and in 2002,
he became president of the Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens,
which represents 400 Francophone farming families in Ontario.

Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Export - Al Safa Halal
Inc., Cambridge, Ontario (

David Muller and Steve Hahn founded Al Safa Halal in 1991 and have
turned it into a leading North American provider of food products
that conform to Islamic religious laws. The company offers a wide
range of halal chicken, beef and turkey products, as well as a
variety of pizzas and deli meats. The company produces all its
products in Ontario, and sells twenty per cent in Canada while the
other eighty per cent goes to the United States. Aggregate export
sales to date are more than $30 million. Al Safa Halal has formed
alliances with 14 food processing companies in Ontario to meet the
exacting needs of the Muslim community, under the certification of
the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America.

Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship
- British Columbia Agriculture Council, Kelowna, British Columbia

The British Columbia Agriculture Council, founded in 1997 to provide
leadership in representing, promoting and advocating the collective
interests of all agricultural producers in B.C., delivers
environmental funding support to producers through the Agriculture
Environment Partnership Initiative and the Agriculture Environment
Stewardship Initiative. To date, more than eighty projects have been
supported, with total commitments exceeding $10 million. The
Council's successful leadership role has engaged producers and
resulted in enhanced on-farm environmental stewardship. Its success
in B.C. has been recognized by other resource-based industries that
have used its approach as a model.

Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Innovation - Oleanergie
F2001, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Oleanergie F2001 is the first company in Canada to build a processing
plant for the production of soy protein isolates and concentrates.
This technology is an important innovation for the soy industry.
Working in collaboration with scientists at Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada's Food Research and Development Centre in St-Hyacinthe, the
company has developed a unique process for producing soy protein
isolates that avoids the use of hexane. The company's greener,
environmentally friendly, hexane-free method to extract soy protein
and develop new premium products has great potential to influence
current techniques used by other soy processors, as domestic and
international consumers continue to demand healthier, safer,
environmentally friendly, unique products. Oleanergie is helping the
soy sector by increasing demand for identity-preserved, organic
Canadian-grown soybeans throughout the supply chain.

Canadian Agri-Food Award of Excellence for Agricultural Awareness and
Education - The University of Alberta "There's a Heifer in Your Tank"
Team, Edmonton, Alberta (
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"There's a Heifer in Your Tank: Answers to Questions You Didn't Know
You Had about Agriculture" is a program developed in 2004 by Dr.
Frank Robinson and some of his students at the University of Alberta.
The students are coached to deliver highly professional, entertaining
three-minute presentations that answer questions about agriculture
and explain the science behind the questions. The program has been
successful in many areas:

- developing problem-solving skills
- creating awareness of issues facing producers
- developing skills in teamwork and communication
- establishing linkages among student, faculty and industry groups
- introducing non-agriculture students to agricultural issues, and
- providing consumers with accurate information related to
agriculture and food.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    Minister Mitchell's Office
    Matt Tolley
    (613) 759-1059
    Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Toronto
    Emily Miller
    (416) 263-3406