Growers Need to Share How They Are Already Focused on Sustainability

The new executive director of the Potato Sustainability Alliance says growers need to share what sustainability efforts they’ve already made and how those steps have benefited consumers and the planet.

John Mesko says often when sustainability in agriculture comes up, farmers are expected to change their practices, or at the very least improve upon them.

But he noted what many in the non-ag community don’t understands is farmers are already making many of those steps voluntarily.

“And that’s really where PSA comes in with our approach. We say, let’s work together as an industry to identify the things that we are already doing, but the things that we can do reasonably to move sustainability forward and take that to the folks that are interested, the buyers of potatoes, the Wal-Marts, the Costcos, and say we’re working on this, we have a handle on this, we’re solving these issues ourselves and we’re responding to your consumer’s needs.”

Mesko says that while it’s not the cure all, he sees technology playing a big role in sustainability into the future.

He noted Ag tech increases efficiency in the field as well as the delivery of that food, adding that makes the food supply chain more sustainable.

“We can be more targeted, we can be more efficient, we can use fertilizers and other inputs at a more optimum time, or something like that. Maybe its machine technology that allows us to plant more efficiently and get it all planted in a window or harvested within a window, and be more controlling of the growing season.”

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