Honouring agricultural excellence

0
1435
The Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce celebrated its annual Rural Urban Dinner on Nov.27. The highlights included the awards ceremony. Stephen Denys, left, was named Agriculturist of the Year, Bailey Pool is the 4-H Member of the Year, and Angelo Ligori, plant manager, accepted the Agricultural Innovator of the Year award for Greenfield Ethanol.
The Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce celebrated its annual Rural Urban Dinner on Nov. 27. The highlights included the awards ceremony. Stephen Denys, left, was named Agriculturist of the Year, Bailey Pool is the 4-H Member of the Year, and Angelo Ligori, plant manager, accepted the Agricultural Innovator of the Year award for Greenfield Ethanol.

A partnership billed as the first of its kind in North America was honoured at the 67th Rural Urban Dinner in Chatham Wednesday.

Greenfield Ethanol received the Agricultural Innovator of the Year award during a ceremony at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre.

The company was recognized for its long-term vision to become a bio-refinery, serving as a hub for other industry and agricultural businesses.

An example is Greenfield’s collaboration with Truly Green Farms on a large tomato greenhouse complex that is being built across the road from Chatham’s ethanol plant.

The greenhouse operation will use waste heat and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ethanol plant.

“The culmination is just now taking place, and when all of the acres go in, it’ll be a wonderful opportunity for the agriculture-based growth that we’ve done here in Chatham,” said Angelo Ligori, manager of the Chatham ethanol plant.

Truly Green completed the first phase of its project this year, growing 22.5 acres of greenhouse tomatoes.

The next three phases will be completed over the next 10 years, bringing 90 acres into production.

Greg Devries, president of Truly Green, said the combination of using waste heat and CO2 will help the company manage its energy costs while boosting the production of its fresh-market tomatoes.

The tomatoes were chosen because they respond best to the large amounts of CO2.

“We don’t have to run our boilers in the summertime when we don’t need the heat, and we can get as much CO2 as we can to maximize the opportunity for yield,” said Devries, noting that conventional greenhouse operations get their CO2 from the exhaust of natural gas hot-water boilers that are on site.

Greenfield chairman and chief executive officer Ken Field was the guest speaker for the evening.

“We’re innovators because that’s the way we live, that’s the way we breathe and that’s the way we want to be,” he told The Voice before the ceremony.

The company is on the verge of another breakthrough that has a Chatham connection.

Field said a process has been developed at the company’s local research centre where engineers and scientists are testing a new, cost-efficient way to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Calling the latest test results “outstanding,” Field said the process could expand commercial ethanol production to include more plant sources, such as corn cobs, corn stover, leaves, hay and wood waste.

While Field couldn’t say if Chatham’s ethanol plant would be the first to have a cellulosic addition, he noted that it will part of every ethanol plant’s future.

“It’s going to be very interesting to watch us over the next short while,” said Field.

The innovator award was one of three presented by the Agriculture Committee of the Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen Denys, vice president of sales and marketing at Pride Seeds, is the Agriculturist of the Year.

“It’s a very humbling honour,” said Denys, “To be recognized by your own community and by your peers is just a terrific and prestigious award for me to earn.”

He also has been involved in several business and community organizations, including a term as chairman of the Canadian Seed Trade Association and leading the St. Joseph’s and St. Ursula’s Parish Centre renovation project.

Bailey Pool of Ridgetown was named 4H Member of the Year.

The Grade 11 student at Ursuline College in Chatham has been an active 4-H member for six years.

Primarily involved in the dairy club this year, she has taken on several leadership roles in the past, including president, secretary and press reporter.

“It’s really a great way to get involved in the community and since I’m older, I can help the younger kids,” said Pool, who regularly helped the younger members during many training sessions.

Comments

comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here