Without encouragements and rewards life can be a little discouraging at times. We all need a little motivation now and then and this is equally true for business activities.

Trawling through my inbox this morning a couple of items popped up that should act as just the sort of encouragement to those looking to improve the industry.

In the UK, ABN is again offering GBP1,000 (US$1,600) in prize money for the ABN Innovation Award. Targeted at anyone with an idea for adding greater value to the country’s pig and poultry industry, the 2012 award sets out to highlight the very best ideas to help tackle some of the challenges facing the pig and poultry food production chain.

Ideas relating to any area of the food chain are eligible, from the supply of inputs and primary production, through transport and processing, regulation and feed assurance, to retailing, product labeling and food preparation.

Run in conjunction with the British Pig and Poultry Fair, the ABN Innovation Award offers not only a cash prize to the ultimate winner, but also the opportunity for all selected finalists to pitch their ideas to a panel of leading influencers within the UK farming and food industries.

This is just the sort of encouragement to get people thinking and sharing ideas. Who knows what will come out of the initiative this year — it could be exactly what the industry needs.

Pat on the back 

In the U.S., the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association has recently recognized six poultry farms with the annual Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. Presented at the 2012 International Poultry Expo, the award is given in acknowledgment of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.

Applicants for the award were rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques and participation in education or outreach programs. Winners were chosen from six geographical regions across the U.S.

Now, perhaps more than ever before, for many businesses it really is a case of keep moving or die. All industries must innovate and develop and implement new ideas. Whether the best approach is to encourage innovation through cash prizes or whether it is recognizing those that are doing a good job does not much matter; what is important is that someone somewhere is doing something to help the sector progress.

These types of initiative, irrespective of our particular roles or sectors, are things we should all be interested in and can all learn from.