Don Hill Legacy Award – OSCIA

The Don Hill Legacy Award honouring on-farm innovation was established in 2019 in memory of past OSCIA president Don Hill.

David and Roger Buurma’s patience and ingenuity in the shop to perfect a low-cost solution for side-dressing nitrogen in corn has won them the 2021 Don Hill Legacy Award.
The Lambton County grain farmers have perfected an easy-to-use rubber hose dropping system that enables efficient, accurate nitrogen delivery into a taller corn canopy using the 120-foot boom on their self-propelled sprayer.
The award is given annually by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) to recognize a recipient who has applied on-farm innovation and ingenuity to effectively address an identified environmental risk associated with soil, water, air, or biodiversity on their farm.
“This innovation reflects the spirit of the Don Hill Legacy Award – it’s a simple, low cost and effective solution to an environmental challenge on the farm,” says OSCIA President Chad Anderson. “Don had a passion for the Environmental Farm Plan and its ability to enable on-farm innovation and problemsolving.”
The Buurmas picked up on work their father had started with streaming Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) 28% onto corn using a self-propelled sprayer after having had good results with the technique in his wheat crop. They needed a solution to avoid crop damage from the liquid fertilizer splashing onto the plants and minimize nitrogen loss into the atmosphere through volatilization.

They mounted rubber hosing onto the spray nozzles of their 120-ft boom sprayer and dragging these over the soil into taller corn. The sprayer’s GPS unit ensures accuracy and at a travel speed of five to eight miles per hour, applications can be finished quickly and precisely.
Travelling up and down fewer rows in each field at a faster speed using their sprayer means they’re finishing up their nitrogen application about 75% faster compared to using the standard, pull-type sidedress equipment. The total cost of their sprayer retrofit was approximately $400.
The Don Hill Award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, was established in 2019 in memory of past OSCIA president Don Hill. Hill was passionate about the Environmental Farm Plan and finding simple yet creative solutions to environmental challenges faced on the farm. 


Mark Lumley of Fairwind Farms in Sarnia received the award at the 2020 Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) annual meeting for an innovation that has made it possible to use a seed-placed tank mix of liquid fertilizer and the fungicide Quadris in sugarbeet production.
“It’s an honour to present the first-ever Don Hill Legacy Award to Mark for his innovation,” says OSCIA President Stuart Wright. “It’s a simple, yet effective solution that is reflective of Don’s passion for the Environmental Farm Plan and finding simple yet creative solutions to environmental challenges faced on the farm.”
Sugarbeets face a lot of disease pressure, such as from the fungal disease rhizoctonia. Standard practice, according to Lumley, is an application of fungicide Quadris in a water suspension into the seed trench just before it’s closed. Another proven agronomic practice for the crop is applying a small amount of phosphorus in that same spot at planting, like Alpine 6-24-6.
To be more efficient and effective, Lumley needed a way to use the fertilizer as a carrier for the fungicide so both could be applied at the same time. His solution, a 12V submersible electric pump that he placed inside the planter’s tank, ended up giving him exactly what he needed – aggressive agitation that mixed the fertilizer and fungicide together and kept them from separating and coagulating.
The agitator can be activated anytime by a switch in the tractor cab and can run continually during spraying. Material and labour costs are estimated at approximately $3,000, and the solution can be used in planter spray or sprayer applications in any crop.
Applying fungicide and starter fertilizer together has increased yields by reducing disease pressure. It also allows for precise fertilizer application and more targeted application of the fungicide compared to an in-crop foliar spray later on and has reduced the amount of time that used to be spent cleaning the system and dealing with tip and filter problems.
“I am really honoured to receive this award, since not only can other farmers use the idea easily, but I hope it also encourages people to think just a little outside the box and come up with your own solutions to “pesky” problems,” Lumley says.
Lumley grows corn, soybeans, wheat and sugarbeets on approximately 4,500 acres, has farming interests in Uruguay and is involved in humanitarian farming in Zambia. He is involved in many organizations and committees, including Chair of the Ontario Sugarbeet Growers Association, Chair of the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce and founder and president of the Ontario Innovative Sugarbeet Processors Cooperative.

Source : OSCIA

Past Winners
  • 1985 – Bill Wright
  • 1986 = William Wammes
  • 1987 – Ron McEwen
  • 1988 – Gorden Brooksbank
  • 1989 – Randy Molzan
  • 1990 – Tony Bahro
  • 1991 – Ted Deelstra
  • 1992 – George Cornelissen
  • 1993 – Nathan Sparling
  • 1994 – John Lammers
  • 1995 – John Straatman
  • 1996 – Tim and Wes Williams
  • 1997 – Roy Vandamme
  • 1998 – Annbee Farms
  • 1999 – Daniel Konzelmann
  • 2000 – Donald McGugan
  • 2001 – Bill Wray
  • 2003 – Mike Belan Jr.
  • 2004 – Walnut Acres Farms Inc.
  • 2005 – Ron Wilcox
  • 2006 – Doug and Dave McGee
  • 2007 – George and Agnes Dickenson
  • 2008 – Henry J. Peters
  • 2009 – Joe Kerr
  • 2010 – Kevin Marriott
  • 2011 – Joe Kerr
  • 2012 – Brian Sparling
  • 2013 – Ron MacDougall
  • 2014 – Don and Irene Van Gorkum

Province of Ontario – Excellence in Agriculture

The Excellence in Agriculture program recognizes agri-food innovations that demonstrate leadership, product development or technology advancement that will benefit the agri-food sector. The innovations recognized will help move the sector forward so it is better positioned to thrive here at home and on the global stage.

BioLiNE’s innovation brings fertilizer formulators up a notch. Their unique process uses plant-based material (spent mushroom compost versus traditional soft coal sources), meaning no harsh chemicals, heat and minimal energy is used to produce fulvic acid, an organic compound used to bolster soil properties. Importantly, they are upcycling a product that would otherwise be considered waste.

Ontario – Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation


The Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program supported and recognized the dedication, hard work and innovation of local agri-food businesses and individuals who added value to existing products, helped create jobs and contributed to economic growth.

Twin Creeks Greenhouse
(Reid Cleland, George Conelissen, Carolyn Cornelissen, Danielle Cornelissen, Mike Cornelissen, Hon Deb Matthews, MPP)
Not long ago, flares were used to burn off the methane produced at the local landfill down the road from Twin Creeks Greenhouse. Today, the excess gas travels 1.8 kilometres by pipeline from the landfill and into a greenhouse boiler, which regulates the greenhouse at perfect growing temperatures. The steady fuel supply reduces the amount of natural gas needed to heat the greenhouse by 65 per cent and allows the producers to grow their crops year-round. The crops take in carbon dioxide produced by burning methane, helping offset the carbon emissions. The construction of the pipeline supported a number of contractors and local businesses, while Twin Creeks plans to add 80 acres to the methane-heated greenhouse operation.