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Growing the margins in demanding times


October 27, 2008
By Marg Land

October 22, 2008, London, Ont. –
The Third Annual Growing the Margins (GTM) conference is scheduled for
March 11 and 12, 2009, at the London Convention Centre, London Ont. and
will explore the technological, operating, regulatory, financial and
other challenges and opportunities facing farms and rural industries as
they strive to improve their energy efficiency, better utilize
byproducts, and improve bottom lines.

October 22, 2008, London, Ont. – The farm, food processing and rural sectors are displaying increased interest in opportunities to conserve energy, develop sources of renewable energy, and produce or use bioproducts and byproducts to advantage. Actions taken to address important environmental concerns are commendable; however, in these demanding economic times, attention is focussed on the bottom line as producers of all types are looking for ways to improve operating costs and land use.

This interest is reflected by the increased popularity of a series of successful conferences called Growing the Margins: Energy, Bioproducts and Byproducts from Farm and Food Sectors.

The Third Annual GTM conference, scheduled for March 11-12, 2009 at the London Convention Centre, London Ont., will continue to explore the technological, operating, regulatory, financial and other challenges and opportunities facing farms and related food processing and rural industries as they strive to improve their energy efficiency, better utilize byproducts, and again, ultimately improve their bottom lines.

Evidence of the conference’s success is to be found in the fact that next year will not only see the presentation of GTM #3 but also the First Annual Canadian Farm and Food Biogas Conference and Exhibition. The biogas conference will run parallel to GTM #3, share plenary sessions and a common exhibition but have a dedicated technical program of informative presentations and high-quality speakers. 

What’s more, there will be two special networking sessions on March 10th, immediately prior to the conferences. One is the European Union/Ontario Biogas Networking Forum, designed to bring EU and other suppliers of proven biogas technologies together with potential Ontario collaborators interested in developing projects here. The other, a Biomass Heat Networking Forum, will provide an excellent occasion for all stakeholders – agricultural producers, technology providers, utilities, rural municipalities and all levels of government – to discuss and explore the opportunities for a biomass heat industry in Ontario.

There will also be a Building Your Biogas System Workshop. This hands-on session is aimed at equipping farmers and food processors with the knowledge and tools that they will require in order to effectively design and construct an agricultural or agri-food based biogas-for-energy system.

The week will end with the ever-popular technology tours. Three tours are planned for next year, each covering projects and technologies (biogas, biomass, wind, solar and others) in different parts of Southwestern Ontario. Tours at last year’s GTM conference were sold out. 

“We have designed Growing the Margins so that it provides a comprehensive and valuable collection of activities catering to diverse interests,” says John McMullen, conference chair. “Organizations wishing to learn more about the economic and environmental benefits of expanding operations beyond traditional crop, meat and food production to becoming suppliers of energy and new bioproducts and byproducts won’t want to miss next year’s offering.”

Growing the Margins is made possible by its lead supporter, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs , with additional support from many other private and public sector organizations. 

 Anyone interested in learning more about the two conferences and associated activities should check out the web sites at http://www.gtmconference.ca or http://www.biogasconference.ca .


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