Respecting, protecting, and enhancing the natural resources that provide the foundation for our livelihood is critical to both meeting today’s needs and to insuring a vibrant legacy for future generations. Focused on continuous improvement and spanning the entire supply chain, our environmental stewardship programs not only reduce our footprint, they contribute to improved product quality and reduced cost. Examples of the types of robust and innovative practices in place across the Network Partners include:
- Maintaining soil fertility and vitality through extended crop rotations and USDA soil conservation plans
- Comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs
- Precision Farm Management practices, utilizing satellite GPS technology and computerized planting and chemical application equipment to minimize inputs and soil compaction, as well as the number of passes required through a field, thereby reducing fuel utilization and harmful emissions. This also helps insure optimum spacing of plants, which maximizes quality and yield per acre.
- Making every drop of water count through the use of low pressure center pivots, drip irrigation, variable frequency pumps to match application to demand requirements, and reclamation, restoration and reuse. For example, at Keystone Potato Products, acid mine water is neutralized for steam generation, then cleaned/treated and returned to the Chesapeake Bay.
- Comprehensive waste management programs built on the principles of “reduce-reuse-recycle,” including conversion of broken pallets and scrap wood into mulch, and the collection and return of metal wickets, poly bags, and cardboard.
- Innovative renewable energy programs, including an 8-acre “solar farm” that will produce over 1,100 megawatts of electricity per year and provide about 40% of plant requirements at Masser Potato Farms, and steam boilers at Keystone Potato Products that are powered by methane gas from a nearby landfill.
- Owned truck fleets built to reduce wind drag, thereby increasing fuel efficiency by 1 mile/gallon; trucks are also equipped with auxiliary power units for additional fuel efficiency and extended engine life.
- Strategically located growing, storage, packing, and distribution facilities across the country that allow us to reduce our food miles and deliver product grown close to home within 24 hours.
- In recognition of their environmental leadership, Masser Potato Farms (1998) and Basin Gold Co-op (Bud-Rich) (2003) have each received the NPC / EPA Environmental Stewardship Award.