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Willowgrove Hill, a pork producer based in Ontario, Canada, recently received the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence -- a prestigious award that recognizes industry innovation, and comes with a significant cash prize. The award was presented by Premier Dalton McGuinty, the premier of the Canadian province of Ontario.
Paul and Rosie Hill, owners of Willowgrove Hill, were recognized for their pioneering efforts to create a new product in the marketplace: premium pork that is nutritionally enriched with DHA/EPA Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Organic Selenium.
The addition of these nutrients, naturally through feed, establishes Willowgrove Hill as the first and only pork in North America able to make the health claim, "supports the normal physical development of the brain, eyes and nerves," according to the company. In addition, the pork is raised locally, at the Hill farm in Mitchell, Ontario, without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones.
After losing their young son Ryan to liver cancer in 2001, Paul and Rosie Hill were inspired to enrich their premium pork to ensure that their family -- and all of their customers -- had an accessible, healthier choice. Working with Grand Valley Fortifiers, a provider of animal/livestock health and nutrition, Willowgrove Hill introduced DHA/EPA Omega-3 and Organic Selenium naturally, through feed.
The five-year, $2.5 million Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was announced as part of the 2006 provincial budget. There will be up to 55 regional award winners annually, with a cash prize of $5,000 each. From these winners, a Minister's Award of up to $50,000 and a Premier's Award of up to $100,000 will be selected.