Jan 23, 2019
Potato Sustainability Initiative members to see changes in compliance

The Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) is hoping to make life a little easier for its participating members.

dan-moss-farms
Dan Moss

Changes are coming to the way the members are monitored, specifically in audits and the annual survey, said Dan Moss of Moss Farmsduring the Idaho Potato Conference. Moss is a PSI Governance Committee member.

“Basically, we’re dismantling the whole thing,” Moss said of the annual survey process during his presentation at Idaho State University’s Bond Student Union building in Pocatello on Wednesday, Jan. 23.

The annual survey, currently at 108 questions, will be cut to around half that, Moss said.

Audit changes

Perhaps an even bigger change is the way audits will be handled. When the PSI was created in 2010, it was largely driven by McDonald’s’ desire to become more transparent and show sustainability to the general public.

PSI has about 500 member growers in the U.S. and Canada. They are periodically audited to show they’re meeting sustainability requirements. In the future, audits should be more conversational rather than checklist-oriented, Moss said. Changes are based on feedback from the growers, processors, committees and the buyers, specifically McDonald’s and Sysco.

“You’re still going to get audited now and then, but it should be way different than it was in the past,” Moss said. About 20 percent of member growers are audited in a given year.

Growers should expect more of a storytelling process during audits, said Moss. He added the purpose is to learn more about each individual farm to share its story with the end user: the consumer.

“What McDonald’s wants to do is have us all get certificates (to show) we’re growers of sustainable products and they want to make an advertisement,” he said. “Every farm has different story.”

The idea is not only to be transparent, but also to promote what farmers are doing to produce a sustainable product.

“You’re still going to have to keep track of fertilizer, you’re still going to have traceability,” Moss said. “If you get an upgraded pivot system, keep track of that. That’s what they’re going to want to know, what you’re doing to be sustainable.”

For more on PSI, visit potatosustainabilityinitiative.org.






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