Cultivation/Production, Most viewed stories, North America, Smart Farming

Michigan potato farmer receives MSU award for Distinguished Service

Brian Sackett, of Sackett Potatoes in Mecosta, Mich., received the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Distinguished Service Award at the March 12 ANR Awards Program.

According to a MSU press release, the award honors individuals or partners who have made outstanding contributions to Michigan’s agriculture and natural resources industries, and who possess high standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the college.

Sackett, along with his son Tyler, manages Sackett Potatoes in Mecosta. The Sackett family has been growing potatoes on their family farm in Michigan since 1905. Under Brian’s management over the past 10 years, Sackett Potatoes has grown to a total of 18,000 acres across three states.

The primary crop grown is 7,500 acres of potatoes for the potato chip industry, marketed to E.K. Bare & Sons, Frito Lay, Inc., Great Lakes Potato Chip Co., Snyder’s-Lance Inc., Shearer’s Foods, Utz Quality Foods and Wise Foods, Inc.

Brian combines three decades of potato farming experience with today’s newest potato farming technology to meet the demands of modern business. He is continually upgrading the potato storages to have state-of-the-art technology to deliver high quality potatoes to customers year-round.

He furthers MSU potato research by hosting the MSU Potato Breeding and Genetics Common Scab Screening trial each year on his farm. He has hosted additional soil health research plots on his farm with Dr. Bird and Dr. Liu over the last two decades.

For the past eight years and continuing annually, Sackett donates an acre of land for MSU researchers to screen the breeding material for scab resistance, or rot prevention. Due to this donation, MSU is now advancing potato material to advanced commercial testing that has scab resistance, increased storage chip quality and agronomic performance, which impacts an entire industry.

Brian also serves as an industry advisor to university faculty in relation to grower production and storage practices. He also hosts Potatoes USA NexGen trials (pre-commercialization variety trials), and for the last 15 years, he has brought national recognition to MSU technology and champions commercialization of MSU-developed varieties nationally. In addition, he donates hundreds of dollars’ worth of potato seeds for MSU research trialing purposes.

His industry affiliations include service on the Potatoes USA National Chip Program Steering Committee and Michigan Potato Industry Commission (MPIC) chairman in 2016. He has served as MPIC Storage and Handling Committee chair for the past 11 years. He’s a member of the MPIC Variety Release Committees since 2015, and is a member of the MPIC Research Committee since 2012.

Source: MSU. Full press release here
Photo: Brian Sackett, of Sackett Potatoes, in Mecosta (Courtesy/CANR/MSU)

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