Potato Grower

September 2017

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WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21 questions about how they're using inputs on their operations," says Bayer food chain and sustainability manager Jennifer Maloney. "Potato growers are already sustainable in a lot of the things they do. But they're busy farming. They don't have time to sit down and put together stories around sustainability benefits in key areas." Grow On is an initiative from Bayer whose goal is to provide growers with tools to identify, implement and, importantly, communicate their sustainable farming practices. According to a recent sustainability report by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, 81 percent of U.S. producers agree that their customers a growing increasingly focused on the environmental sustainability of the products they buy. Maloney says these questions may come from different sources, depending on growers' respective locations and markets. Most process potato growers, for example, are required by their contracted processor to complete the Potato Sustainability Initiative. Fresh market growers and shippers may be required by their customers to submit sustainability or safety questionnaires. The folks at Bayer realized agricultural sustainability is mostly viewed through three different lenses—environmental, social and economic— depending on one's position along the supply chain. (Growers, for good reason, spend most of their time focused on economic sustainability.) To satisfy all three concerns, the Grown On initiative focuses on six key areas of sustainability: 1. Integrated pest management (IPM) practices to manage pests with minimal environmental impact; 2. Optimizing plant water usage and water quality; 3. Improving soil health and plant nutrient uptake; 4. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use; 5. Ensuring safe work environments; and 6. Reducing food waste by preventing pre-harvest loss and extending post-harvest shelf life. WWW.POTATOGROWER.COM 21

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