Made up of leading soil and water specialists and farm community representatives,
the technology assessment panel was responsible for assessing the suitability
of soil conservation equipment and cropping methods for Ontario farmers.
The panel also assessed research results from federal, provincial, university
and private sector establishments.
Original Sub-Program Description
Provides leadership in validating new and existing technologies for
Identifies and provides preliminary assessment of soil conservation
technologies and their validity and utility for Ontario agriculture.
Assess research results from federal, provincial, university and the
private sector, as well as international work.
As result of the assessments, may recommend technologies for immediate
adoption, further evaluation or rejection for use in Ontario.
Responsibility: Federal Government
Budget: $750,000 (includes $ for
SEE) - $598,200 spent (TAP +
Contractor: Herb Norry and Associates, London, Ontario
Formation of TAP: One of the sub-programs of SWEEP was the
Technology Assessment Panel (TAP) which came into
being in August, 1986 when panel members were appointed by the Honourable
John Wise, Minister of Agriculture. When no vacancies existed, the Panel
was composed of seven farmers, one person from the Ontario Agricultural
College, three from agribusiness, three from Agriculture Canada and three
from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. An Executive Secretary,
Herb Norry, under contract, was provided by Agriculture Canada.
Functions: TAP had several functions, one of which was to provide
peer group comments for management, which term includes program managers.
Comments were basically about technologies - needs, availability, usefulness,
strengths, weaknesses, erroneous perceptions, research needs, research results,
TAP members were a network by themselves. Each of them belonged to many
other networks, many of which involved persons very interested in conservation.
Ideas that could be of benefit to SWEEP managers were picked up from hither
and yon. It would have been a mistake not to pass on to managers, ideas
that might improve the SWEEP program. The result was that while TAP concentrated
on technologies in their study and searchings, they passed on to managers
any and all ideas that might be of benefit to the SWEEP program.
Process: Peer group comments were conveyed to management in a
variety of ways. Managers were welcome to attend all TAP meetings and many
did. Notes taken at TAP meetings went to managers. Managers had an open
invitation to present information to TAP or request comments from TAP. Program
managers took part in TAP tours and fact-finding missions. TAP tried to
have the panel represented at events sponsored by other programs. Informal
conversations when at meetings or on tours and direct telephone calls were
found to be excellent means for managers and TAP members to exchange views.
Results: Since TAP is a service program, it is successful only
if it aids in the success of the SWEEP program. It is successful if it provides
managers, including program managers, with information and viewpoints so
that they are able to make better decisions and thereby achieve more success
How well has TAP succeeded in helping managers? In a period of seven
years, it is likely that TAP pleased at times and displeased at times. Hopefully,
there were more of the former than the latter. TAP has asked management
at times, "Tell us what you want us to do?" The standard answer, reassuring
to TAP, has been "Keep on doing what you are doing in the same way."
Since TAP has been successful only if it has helped in the overall success
of SWEEP, and since TAP does not want to lay claim to pockets of success,
nor repeat results that are better reported elsewhere, we asked our members
and close associates to tell us some of the things about SWEEP that they
though should be recorded. Some of the points raised by members are about
accomplishments of SWEEP and some are about groups or individuals responsible
for the accomplishments of SWEEP.