Sustainability

Potato Sustainability Alliance: ‘The most important time for agriculture’

This article was written by John Mesko, Executive Director, Potato Sustainability Alliance (PSA). “The topic of sustainability and all of its relatives – regenerative, climate-smart, and resource positive – are the hottest focus in agriculture right now,” Mesko wrote. “These initiatives are growing in popularity and influence because of the legitimate promise that farming practices can change the world. [But]…climate-smart practices are not being adopted as fast as climate experts tell us they need to be.”

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Sustainability: Nitrogen management in the spotlight for New Zealand’s potato and vegetable sectors

The so-called Sustainable Vegetable Systems Programme (SVS) in New Zealand is in its third year and is making great progress towards improving tools and guidelines for the country’s potato and vegetable sectors’ nitrogen management. Chris Claridge, CEO of Potatoes NZ says the organization is excited to enable a more sustainable approach to vegetable growing with positive impacts on environmental, economic and social outcomes.

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New report on ‘Agricultural Sustainability and Food Production’ released

In collaboration with William Masters at Tufts University, Chris Said from Apollo Academic Surveys asked leaders, fellows, and awardees of the American Society of Agronomy, the American Society of Animal Science, and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association about their views on agriculture and food production. The results of the survey was publish by Apollo Academic Surveys in a report on October 7, 2022.

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HandWiki article: ‘Climate Change and Potatoes’

In an extensive article published on the HandWiki website, it is said that climate change is predicted to have significant effects on global potato production. Like many crops, potatoes are likely to be affected by changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, temperature and precipitation, as well as interactions between these factors.

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A ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes: Can McCain’s hi-tech farm in Canada save french fries from the climate crisis?

Researchers are reportedly flocking to Canada’s New Brunswick province to test both cutting-edge and bygone methods of spud cultivation to meet a challenging future. McCain’s “Farm of the Future” in the province is one of a series of laboratories the company plans to roll out across the world as it tests what practices are best suited to saving potatoes, while cutting the company’s carbon emissions. The model farm feels like a little like ‘Star Trek’ for potatoes.

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First-of-its-kind: McCain and Farm Credit Canada come together to support potato growers’ sustainable practices

McCain Foods and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) have come together with a new offering to reduce financial barriers for potato farmers who are transitioning to sustainable agricultural practices. McCain Foods says smart and sustainable farming is a key pillar of the company’s commitment to be more environmentally conscious, anchored on its commitment to regenerative agriculture.

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PepsiCo Chairman on Positive Agriculture strategy: ‘An incredible start to our transformation journey’

“I’m excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of pep+,” says Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief CEO at PepsiCo in a LinkedIn post earlier today. “It’s been an incredible start to our transformation journey,” Laguarta posts. PepsiCo Positive (pep+) launched just over one year ago. PepsiCo’s sustainability leaders across the globe share what they learned during the first year of the company’s end-to-end transformation in a news article published on the PepsiCo website earlier today.

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HZPC’s Potato Days 2022: ‘No time to waste’ to ensure future-proof potato production

On 9, 10 and 11 November, HZPC will open its doors in Joure – and online – to anyone with a passion for potatoes. During Potato Days 2022, the company will discuss the challenges of food security and sustainability, now and in the future. And invited guests will further discuss how everyone involved in the global potato industry can make an important contribution together. HZPC will introduce visitors and online participants to its most promising varieties and innovations

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INTERPOM 2022 to feature innovations in the potato industry, seminars on climate change, crop protection and sustainability

INTERPOM 2022 will take place on 27, 28 & 29 of November and will once again be the ultimate international meeting place in Kortrijk Xpo (Belgium) for all professionals involved in the potato sector, according to the organizers. The event theme, ‘Towards healthy growth’, is all about cultivation methods, land use, growing in a socially responsible way, but also about sustainable transport and processing, autonomous energy use and sustainable water management.

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McCain enters the Metaverse: Introducing ‘Regen Fries’, new partnerships to educate consumers on regenerative farming

McCain Foods is entering the Metaverse and introducing new ‘Regen Fries’ as part of the #SaveOurSoil initiative. Regen Fries are made with potatoes that are grown using regenerative farming methods which build soil health, improve biodiversity, and enhance on-farm resilience to climate change. McCain has committed to reimagining ways to grow potatoes that are ‘beneficial for both the planet and the communities in which it operates’.

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Sustainability trend: Crunch time as crisp makers adopt plastic-free packets

In March this year, Del Currie launched Spudos, which now supplies crisps to more than 65 so-called “zero-waste shops” across the UK and Republic of Ireland. The biggest names in the crisps sector say they will need additional time to switch to more environmentally-friendly packaging. In the meantime, it is smaller crisps firms who are leading the way in terms of more eco-friendly packaging, such as Canadian business Humble Potato Chips. In the UK, farmers Sean Mason and Mark Green launched sustainable crisps brand Two Farmers.

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Cost of farm inputs in Britain soars ‘eye-watering’ 34% in a year

Farm input inflation has reached unprecedented levels in Great Britain, with seven out of nine categories seeing double-digit cost increases in the past year, threatening the viability of many farm businesses. As Philip Clarke reports for Farmers Weekly, latest figures from the country’s largest buying group, AF, show that, in the 12 months to September 2022, the cost of farm inputs went up by an “eye-watering” 34%.

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PepsiCo launches new online video series, showcasing regenerative agriculture initiatives

PepsiCo last week announced the continuation of its global agriculture accelerator, the Positive Agriculture Outcomes (PAO) Fund, by granting 14 business projects across 11 countries funding to address some of the most intractable challenges facing agriculture today. Projects from the PAO Fund’s inaugural investment are the focus of PepsiCo’s latest, four-part digital video series, “Growing Our Future.”

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Climate change: Specialist warns of future ‘existential threat’ to the British potato industry

The humble potato may struggle to grow in the UK in years to come due to climate change, researchers have warned. The James Hutton Institute (JHI) at Invergowrie, just outside Dundee, is now trying to find varieties that will grow in warmer conditions. Prof Lesley Torrance, the JHI research organisation’s executive director of science, warned that climate change posed an “existential threat” to the potato industry.

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Reducing virgin plastic: PepsiCo UK invests in new sustainable food packaging innovations

PepsiCo UK announced a £14 million investment in new sustainable food packaging innovations that will remove 250 tonnes of virgin plastic from its supply chain annually. The outer plastic packaging on millions of Walkers 22- and 24- bag multipacks will be replaced with a new cardboard design which reduces the amount of virgin plastic the company uses. The new outer packaging will be on-shelves in all major supermarkets in the UK in the coming weeks.

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From the humble potato comes a sustainable Canadian chip company

A Puslinch (Guelph) potato chip company is taking the lead on crunching down on single-use plastics to inspire other businesses. Humble Potato Chips offers salty snacks that come in plastic-free, compostable bags made with plants. The bags are Industrial Compostable Certified and can break down in municipal or commercial composting systems in 90 to 180 days.

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Largest grant in Univ of Idaho history to incentivize climate-smart agriculture

University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is set to receive up to $55 million — the largest award in the university’s history — to help Idaho farmers and ranchers combat climate change through agricultural practices. U of I’s grant will directly benefit more than 100 Idaho farmers and ranchers. Research will focus on the state’s staple commodities, such as potatoes, beef, sugar, wheat, barley, hops and chickpeas. The grant will drive climate-smart practices on about 10% of Idaho’s active cropland.

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Irish potato excellence: Potato starch innovation merits awards for Meade Farm in Ireland

The quality and innovation behind its potato starch saw Meade Farm, based in Ireland, recently recognised across four different award programmes. The family agribusiness won a gold medal at the Irish Quality Food Awards 2022; the Best Supply Chain Team of the Year award at the National Procurement Awards; the Circular Economy Leadership Award and the overall Grand Prix Award at the IMR Irish Manufacturing and Supply Chain Awards.

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Crop specialist: ‘IPM strategies vital for virus control in Scottish seed potatoes’

The increasingly unpredictable climate is triggering a new set of challenges to the Scottish potato industry, where milder summers and winters are leading to an increasing risk of virus transmission in seed crops, says Donald Paterson, cereal and potato husbandry specialist at Scottish Agronomy. To tackle this challenge, Paterson says growers need to be looking increasingly to using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies alongside plant protection products to maintain quality seed.

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Canadian govt set ‘unrealistic emissions targets’ for fertilizer use, industry insists

A new industry-led report suggests Canada’s farmers can likely only achieve half of the federal government’s targeted 30 per cent reduction in fertilizer emissions by 2030, as Amanda Stephenson reports for Canada’s National Observer. The report concludes that it may be possible to achieve a 14 per cent reduction in emissions from fertilizer by 2030, but that reaching 30 per cent is not “realistically achievable without imposing significant costs on Canada’s crop producers”.

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Great Wrap: Compostable bioplastic clingfilm made from waste potato peels

Australian biomaterials company Great Wrap has created a compostable bioplastic alternative to clingfilm that is made from waste potatoes. Great Wrap film consists of starch extracted from potato peels mixed with other ingredients including used cooking oil and a starchy root vegetable called cassava. The Great Wrap clingfilm can be composted in landfills or home composting systems, where it will break down within 180 days.

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‘Net Zero Hectare’ project: British potato partners secure £2 million investment funding

UK fresh produce innovators have successfully won major funding towards collaborative research to sustainably change the way that potatoes are grown, stored and transported. The Net Zero Hectare project is led by the nation’s leading potato supplier Branston in partnership with B-hive Innovations, Crop Systems Ltd, The University of Lincoln, David Armstrong Farms, and Arbikie Distillery. The objective of the project is to investigate new methods to contribute towards a net zero carbon supply chain for potato crop.

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Are no-till potatoes a pipe-dream?

Initial trials by Dyson Farming and Groundswell Agronomy in the UK are highlighting how difficult potato production with zero-tillage is likely to be commercially, as Mike Abram reports for Farmers Weekly. But managing potato crops with reduced tillage, not zero tillage, while embracing other principles of regenerative agriculture is showing more promise.

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