Technology Transfer Sub-Program

Technology Transfer Projects


 

Project No. Project Title

1994-1 An Approach to Technology Transfer within the Canada-Ontario Green Plan
1995-1 Green Plan Technology Transfer Workshop
1995-2 Technology Transfer Pilot Project
1995-3 Development of an Agricultural Information Integration and Exchange System
1995-4 Marketing and Distribution of Publicly Developed Software Applications
1995-5 Technology Transfer Project: BMP on CD-ROM
1995-6 Technology Transfer Partnerships in Environmental Enhancement
1995-7 Technology Transfer Co-ordination
1995-8 Internet Pilot Project

  Summaries of R&D Projects

Tech. Transfer Home

 

SUB-PROJECT 1994-1

An Approach to Technology Transfer within the
Canada-Ontario Green Plan

Introduction

Canada's Green Plan lists three objectives vital to achieving sustainable agri-food systems:

  • to conserve and enhance the natural resources that agriculture uses and shares.
  • to be compatible with other environmental resources that are affected by agriculture.
  • to be proactive in protecting the agri-food sector from the environmental impacts caused by other sectors and factors, external to agriculture.

Over the past decade, Green Plan has provided funding for many research, development or demonstrations projects aimed at furthering these goals, and much useful information has been collected. The success of program, however, cannot be measured only in terms of the amount of information produced. The program can be considered successful only if the information and resulting recommendations are disseminated to the agri-food sector, and to the public in general, in ways that result in their application towards attainment of the Green Plan objectives. It was towards this end that the Green Plan Technology Transfer Committee contracted for this project.

Executive Summary

The objectives of this study were:

  1. to compile a list of all of the projects from which technical information was or will be collected, since the conclusion of SWEEP, undertaken as part of one of the components of Green Plan in Ontario, or as part of programs with objectives similar enough to those of Green Plan to merit inclusion.
  2. to recommend improvements to the system of technology transfer in Ontario to promote the transfer and adoption of the information generated from these projects.

The titles, principal researchers, objectives and results achieved or expected of 187 individual projects within eleven programs or sub-programs were compiled into lists. These projects covered a wide range of activities including: literature reviews, surveys of farmers' attitudes or farming practices, scientific studies, computer software development and on-farm demonstrations. Within the listings, projects were grouped according one issue that provided the main focus for the project. These areas were patterned after those used within the Environmental Farm Plan Workbook.

In anticipation of recommending changes to the system of technology transfer in Ontario, the Technology Transfer Committee recommended that the development of a revised system of technology transfer for be used as a pilot project. Accordingly, the issues raised by manure management were considered in some detail. Manure management may represent the ultimate challenge in transferring sustainable technology, since it presents the difficulty of designing an affordable system for collecting, storing, transporting and applying manure which minimizes the risk of contamination of air, surface water and groundwater, at all stages in the system, without significant agronomic or operational problems. Current recommendations offer few guidelines in dealing with this complexity to farmers, who seem faced with an impossible set of demands. It is essential that a harmonized set of environmental targets be established for contaminants from manure, along with a process by which farmers can design practical and affordable systems to achieve them.

Within Ontario, the Ontario Agricultural Services Coordinating Committee (OASCC), the eight Research and Services Committee which report to it, exist to provide coordination of agricultural research and the formulation and delivery of recommendations. Since OASCC was formed changes have occurred in Ontario relative to discovery, development and transfer of technology, such that much the information being generated in the province is not reported through OASCC nor integrated into recommendations:

  • Much research, even at public institutions, is now funded by sources other than OMAFRA or AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD CANADA, each with its own reporting mechanism.
  • A substantial amount of research that affects agriculture is done within institutions, farms, businesses or organizations outside the OASCC system.

Technology transfer in Ontario has tended to follow the traditional extension model, in which information is perceived to flow in steps from researchers/developers through a recommending body, to public sector extension personnel or private sector sales representatives and then to farmers. In the past, the level of information available and the system that delivered it, suited the times and technology was transferred very effectively. However, because technology is being developed or adapted at almost all levels of the system (i.e. researcher, extension, private sector and farm) and at a multitude of sources external to it, information flow is becoming increasingly multi-directional and less coordinated. It is doubtful if the system, as it is currently structured, will be adequate in the future:

In transferring detailed information, Ontario remains highly dependent upon personal contact, the preferred method of learning of many farmers. Farmers, however, have become very diverse in their abilities to obtain, assimilate and apply information, and will be more selective about the format in which they will accept information.
Farms have become so diverse and so specialized, that each farmer's informational needs are almost unique, in respect to both the questions to be answered and the level of detail sought. Some farmers are looking for the specific information they need to implement a technology, while others still require general materials to raise awareness and promote experimentation.
Even to experiment with a new technology can necessitate a large capital investment for a farmer and thus pose a large risk for him or her. Increasingly, farmers will require a package of information complete enough for them to visualize how the entire system can be made to work, profitably, on their farm before they will try it.
The amount of information now available and the level of detail being requested are beginning to seriously tax the system for extending information in Ontario, especially in an era when the number of personnel is being reduced at all levels within the system.
It does not appear feasible to attempt to transfer "packaged" systems, at this time, given the diversity and complexity of most farm operations, but clients should be able to obtain information on all components of the system they are assembling.

The extension system has generally served Ontario agriculture well, and continues to do so despite the limitations noted above. However, these limitations must soon be addressed, since their effects will likely become more significant in the future.

The current system for technology transfer in Ontario does represent a solid base upon which to make improvements. Much of the information required by our clients can be transferred using existing agencies, organizations and communications technology, with appropriate modification and supplementation.

Recommended Goals:

  1. Information must presented in ways that will allow potential users to assess the impact of a change in technology on their production system and the environment.
  2. An effective alternative to direct contact with experts must be developed to transfer detailed information to clients.
  3. The technology transfer system must ensure that the best available information is widely accessible in formats that will facilitate widespread usage.

Recommended Objectives:

  1. For each issue area, an individual, or group, should be assigned the task, and held accountable, to ensure that, as information becomes available, it is:
    • assembled at a central location, preferably in both printed and electronic formats.
    • reviewed and integrated with previous information, noting whether they support current recommendations or necessitate change.
    • summarized with previous information.
    • presented, with draft recommendations, to the appropriate OASCC committee for review.
    • available to extension personnel and private sector sales staff, in a readily usable form.
  2. To ensure that the summarization of data in this manner will occur, it is likely that funding will have to be provided specifically for this task.
  3. Design of projects on related topics should be coordinated to facilitate integration of their results. Collection of a standard dataset should be encouraged, as appropriate.
  4. Information from on-farm demonstrations and experiments should be integrated into the reviews outlined above. Use of a standard design for on-farm plots and collection of a standard dataset should be encouraged, especially where the work is conducted with public sector input (e.g. Soil and Crop Improvement Association projects, Wetlands/Woodlots/Wildlife demonstrations and Rural Conservation Clubs).
  5. Extension materials should be designed to meet the needs of specific client groups, with regard to the level of detail and format. In such materials, either printed or electronic, the pathway by which a user can obtain more information must be clear.
  6. All extension materials related to a particular topic should be available, or accessible, through the same location.
  7. Production recommendations and related information should be organized and presented in ways that facilitate use of a systems-approach in considering and applying new technology.
  8. Extension material should outline the potential impact of a technology on both other parts of the farm system and the environment or indicate where such information can be obtained. Prerequisites for implementing the technology on a farm should also be identified.
  9. Materials should be developed to assist farmers in comparing the costs and benefits of alternate technologies, objectively, relative to both farm and environmental goals. Through such an approach, farmers should be able to arrive at a least-cost, practical system.

View / Download Report, "An Approach to Technology Transfer within the Canada-Ontario Green Plan" [553 KB pdf]


 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-1

Green Plan Technology Transfer Workshop

Background

One of the goals of the Technology Transfer Committee is to ensure that information on sustainable technology, being generated by research and demonstration projects, and funded under Green Plan and other similar programs, is effectively and efficiently transferred to Ontario farmers on a continuing basis.

Purpose

  1. to provide a forum for two-way communication and information exchange between the people associated with Green Plan (e.g. the Accord Committee, AMC, reps from each of the programs, Environmental Farm Coalition, etc.)
  2. to explore opportunities for the transfer of Green Plan generated technology and activities

Objectives

  • to increase awareness, among those involved in administering transfer of technology to Ontario farmers, of the type of information being generated within Green Plan and similar programs
  • to discuss the changing needs of Ontario farmers with respect to both the type of information required, and the manner in which it can and should be transferred
  • to begin to explore the potential role of partnerships, among governments, agribusinesses and producers, in facilitating the transfer of information to Ontario farmers

Deliverables

A one-day workshop on trends in technology transfer and potential partnerships was held December 12, 1996. (report attached)

The workshop agenda addressed:

  • overview of information and services generated by Green Plan
  • discussion on changes in technology transfer
  • opportunities for technology transfer in the future, including partnerships
Contact: Mr. Brent Kennedy
Resources and Regulations Branch, OMAFRA,
Guelph, Ontario 

 


 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-2

Technology Transfer Pilot Project

Purpose

to test the validity and feasibility of the recommendations contained in the TTC report, "An Approach To Technology Transfer Within Green Plan"

Objectives

to develop a strategy for an integrated system for transferring technology related to manure management

Deliverables

  • a list and an overview of the extension resources related to manure management, currently available in the public sector and relevant items available within the private sector
  • an outline of the questions that farmers, and others designing manure management systems, must answer to evaluate the options and integrate them into an optimum system
  • a list of the resources available to assist farmers in doing the above, noting the degree to which farmers are dependent upon expert interpretation
  • an evaluation of the value and effectiveness of current resources in transferring the appropriate technology noting gaps in the current information, and other barriers to the implementation
  • a description of how the results of Green Plan research projects are expected to enhance the knowledge base or delivery system
  • a strategy for technology transfer, noting limitations of the current system and suggesting ways in which it might be improved

Target Audience

agriculture sector - producers, agribusiness professionals, extension staff
Contact: Mr. David Morris
10 Cambrai Road
P.O. Box 104, Markdale, Ontario N0C 1H0
Telephone: 519-986-2385

 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-3

Development of an Agricultural Information Integration
and Exchange System

Background

An exploratory study was carried out under the supervision of Dr. David Swayne at the University of Guelph to develop a Prototype Expert/Decision Support System for Manure Management. This prototype demonstrated the feasibility of using currently available knowledge-based technology to organize and link information from different sources and the capability of simple artificial intelligence protocols to select the most appropriate portions of a database.

Purpose

to establish linkages between information at the levels of awareness, technical and research reports and to develop and implement efficient procedures to select relevant information and provide easy access pathways facilitating the transfer of new technology to the end-user the farmer

Objectives

  • to create a task team that will advise the consultant
  • technical improvements to the prototype
  • to develop generalized capability to map and dynamically review the graphic of an area of agricultural activity
  • to provide an executive summary of the information accessed
  • to implement procedures for the user to specify information or expert systems to be downloaded
  • to obtain permission to retain some user information, transfer it to a target database, stratify the information and display it on a geographic base (e.g. county and surface soil texture)
  • information improvements to expand the scope of agricultural activities included within the system and to provide guidelines to standardize the key linkages by:
  • developing an overall framework of agricultural activities specifically encompassing the OASCC structure and publications
  • incorporating project areas for the Green Plan research projects
  • providing guidelines and suggestions for future work to establish areas of agricultural activity and linkages between the various levels of information

Deliverables

  • an enhanced and expanded knowledge based Agricultural Information Integration and Exchange System
  • system documentation including source code listings as required for the ongoing development and maintenance of the system
  • user documentation describing the use and operation of the system
  • a report describing a proposed overall framework of agricultural activities in Ontario
  • a report outlining the range of information considered and the progress achieved and future requirements for incorporating the Green Plan research projects into the system.
  • a report providing guidelines and recommendations for others to continue the process of adding information to the system

Target Audience

agriculture sector - producers, agribusiness professionals, extension staff

Accomplishments:

The deliverables listed above have been accomplished. The system has been installed on Internet  A demonstration version for use on a PC is also available.

The project is continuing to enhance the decision support system through:

  • forming a task team, which includes representation from client groups.
  • demonstrating the system to potential users.
  • investigating means to coordinate and integrate the results of this project with the Internet project (Sub-project # 8)
  • establishing a Web-Master for this site.
Contact: Dr. Bruce MacDonald
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ontario Land Resource Unit
70 Fountain St., Guelph, Ontario

 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-4

Marketing and Distribution of Publicly Developed Software Applications

Background

Many software applications are developed by the public sector to satisfy internal needs. Some of these applications will also satisfy the needs of individuals and businesses. It follows that there should be a marketing and distribution methodology that could bring these applications to the marketplace. These programs can be offered for sale, at a fair price, in order to sustain the need for on-going maintenance and enhancements.

The software application, "Electronic Publication 75 - Guide to Chemical Weed Control" (EP75), was developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). It is used by OMAFRA extension personnel to advise and consult on the most effective way to control weeds during crop production. Producers, agricultural chemical dealers and educational institutions would benefit from using this program.

Goal

determine the feasibility of and the procedures for marketing, distributing and supporting publicly developed software, using EP75 as the test case for this project.

Objectives

  • determine the time necessary to bring an application to market
  • develop a model to predict marketing and distribution costs
  • develop a model to predict market potential and revenues
  • list Critical Success Factors for application to future software marketing projects
  • prepare a software marketing guide

Deliverables

  • "How to" guide for the marketing and distribution of publicly developed software, including cost/revenue model, marketing template, licensing issues, review mechanism and Critical Success Factors. Final report due June 31, 1996.
  • Request For Proposal template to be used for contracting out future marketing and distribution of application software
  • marketing plan for EP75
Contact: Mr. Henry Olechowski
Crop Technology Section
OMAFRA
Guelph, Ontario

 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-5

Technology Transfer Project: BMP on CD-ROM

Purpose

to develop interactive media (CD-ROM) from the Best Management Practices title, Water Management (currently in booklet, slide and video formats)

Objectives

  • to work with an independent multimedia consultant who will help develop a Request For Proposal, select supplier, and facilitate ongoing management of the project
  • to create an inter-disciplinary task team that will advise the consultant and supplier membership will be drawn from the following groups:
  • to develop a story line
  • to select visuals and other media to be used in the CD-ROM
  • to review and approve drafts and other deliverables as project progresses
  • to develop a marketing plan
  • to test final deliverable with target audience(s)
  • to report findings to Green Plan Technology Transfer Committee

Deliverables

  • Request For Proposals
  • process for developing Request For Proposal for multimedia
  • a CD-ROM based on BMP Water Management
  • Final Report

Target Audience

  • agriculture sector producers, agribusiness professionals, extension staff
  • education sector secondary and post-secondary teachers, students and consultants
  • environmental special interest groups
Contact: Mr. Brent Kennedy
Resources and Regulations Branch
OMAFRA
Guelph, Ontario
 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-6

Technology Transfer Partnerships in Environmental Enhancement

Background

The Technology Transfer Partnership Project will follow up on opportunities for enhancing existing technology transfer efforts defined by the Deloitte Touche report, by combining the resources of traditional technology transfer with those of private sector input suppliers, environmental groups and farm organizations. The project will examine administrative, legal, funding, and control issues in the context of pooling resources to information from technology research and development level to farmers. It would coordinate ongoing partnership activities now underway in various Green Plan projects, in particular: Environmental Farm Plan, Best Management Practices, and Stewardship Information Bureau.

Purpose

to develop and recommend strategies for developing, organizing and funding partnerships to facilitate future transfer of Green Plan funded technology.

Objectives

  • to provide direction as required by the ongoing partnership activities of various sub-programs
  • to recommend an overall strategic approach to fund raising, legal and administrative issues for consideration by Green Plan management by March, 1996.
  • to create a task team that will advise the consultant
Contact: Mr. Cecil Bradley
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
40 Eglington Ave. East, Fifth Floor,
Toronto, Ontario M4P 3B1
Telephone: 416-485-3333

 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-7

Technology Transfer Co-ordination

Purpose

to identify significant gaps in the current system of transferring of technology related to areas of significant Green Plan activity

Objectives

  • to identify significant gaps in the current information and/or limitation in the current systems for transfer of technology related to areas of significant Green Plan activity, other than manure management
  • to develop recommendations that will form the basis of a strategy for an integrated system for transferring technology related to these issues

Deliverables

  • technology transfer strategy
    flow charts for all issue areas covered by Green Plan programs, showing the decision making path and the required flow of information, indicating the roles of both the private sector and public
    an evaluation of the value and effectiveness of current resources in transferring the appropriate technology, noting gaps in the current information and other barriers to the implementation recommendation(s) for action

Target Audience

  • Technology Transfer Committee
  • Green Plan committees
Contact: Mr. David Morris
10 Cambrai Road
P.O. Box 104, Markdale, Ontario N0C 1H0
Telephone: 519-986-2385 ... FAX: 519-986-2385
 

 

SUB-PROJECT 1995-8

Internet Pilot Project

Purpose

to provide one window public access to information about the Canada-Ontario Agricultural Green Plan

Objectives

  • to provide electronic access to Green Plan information
  • to reduce hard copy printing costs of final reports by providing reports in digital format for downloading by the user

Deliverables

  • Home Pages for the Green Plan web sites (French and English) (this web site)
  • pertinent documents for each of the Green Plan programs will be collected, organized in a suitable fashion for presentation using graphical Web Browsers, such as Netscape

Target Audience

  • agriculture sector producers, agribusiness professionals, extension staff
  • education sector secondary and post-secondary teachers, students and consultants
  • environmental special interest groups
Contact: Dr. Bruce Bowman
Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
Pest Management Research Centre
1391 Sandford Street, London, Ontario N5V 4T3

 

Tech. Transfer Home

 

Created: 9 October, 1996 19:47:52
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 05:02:30 PM