March 2021
Spudman’s new award program recognizes sustainability By Zeke Jennings

Sustainability is going to be a major topic for food producers for the foreseeable future. Consumers are becoming increasingly more conscious of how food is grown, processed, packaged, transported and what those processes ultimately do to this planet that human beings inhabit.

It’s a hot-button, politicized topic. When that happens, people with bigger, broader agendas start scrutinizing the way an industry and its members handle their business.

In the case of specialty crop growers, many of the practices that are considered “sustainable,” like minimizing inputs and precision irrigation, also are economically sensible, so many already are moving in those directions. 

A big challenge growers face, however, is sharing that story. As we detailed in the February issue in the article, “Sharing the sustainability story”, step 1 is communicating with policymakers and the public that sustainability is important to you. Step 2 is showing what and how you’re doing to achieve that goal. 

Spudman and Valent USA agree that recognizing and telling the story of farms achieving sustainable practices is important. To help do this, Spudman’s parent company, Great American Media Services, created the Specialty Grower Sustainability Award program. Valent USA joined on as the award’s inaugural sponsor.

The award is open to “growers or farming operations who have taken significant steps to improve sustainability in their agricultural practices can be nominated. Nominees will be judged based on: Innovative Thinking, Execution, Impact/Results and Leadership in the Industry.” This can be through any combination of numerous categories, such as water management, soil regeneration, greenhouse gas emissions, advocacy and others.

The potato industry is full of humble farmers who aren’t looking for a pat on the back or attention for their farm. This award isn’t just an award, however, it’s a chance to get your sustainability story out there and documented. The more instances of transparency and examples of sustainability, the easier it is to tell that story to the public and those who ultimately make decisions on the resources and tools farmers will have at their disposal.

The nomination period for the Specialty Grower Sustainability Award is open through April 16. I encourage you to nominate, whether your operation or maybe that of someone you work with or know. 

Nominate at

75 Applewood Dr. Ste. A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345


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