When SAI Platform’s Director General, Adrian Greet visited Executive Committee member, Ghislain Pelletier and the McCain North America Agronomy Team, he was impressed to discover the extent that McCain Foods are investing their resources and making some serious progress in sustainable farming techniques. Right now, McCain are placing their bets to support a thriving potato production that is also resilient to future challenges.
Known as the “French Fry Capital of the world”, Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick, Canada is home to McCain Foods. As a family run business, the entrepreneurial spirit is very alive in how McCain Foods are leading the sector in sustainability. Through innovative trials, McCain are investing in their future and the future of their farmers. The focus of Ghislain Pelletier and the McCain North America Agronomy Team is extensive. Multiple trials are currently underway, with examples including cover crop options to improve soil health; drone mapping of fields with the aim of identifying early onset of disease and with future plans to measure nitrogen content of the plant, to name just some.
Are these tests and trials well-placed bets? McCain certainly believe they are, and they are also engaging key partners to join them in their pursuit for greater sustainable farm practice. Collaborative partnerships with other potato industry stakeholders have resulted in the co-developed Potato Sustainability Initiative as a sector standard which is already benchmarked as FSA Silver.
On his visit to McCain, Adrian Greet commented – “It’s truly impressive to see what the McCain team are doing. They’ve invested in a variety of innovative techniques to trial and test the best way to enable farmers to take-action and deliver more sustainable potatoes. What’s equally impressive is that they are tackling really complex problems.”
McCain’s main focus is on potatoes, and as a single crop challenge it might be perceived as easy, with quick fix solutions. However, it is a very complex organism with complex challenges. The strategies for success require validation and can often conflict with each other. It will take time to confirm if these ventures, and others, will pay off and achieve the desired aim and progress required.
“McCain is a family-owned business and a leader in the community of Florenceville-Bristol. And, that feeling comes across from every person you speak to. The gift McCain offer here, is that of time. They’re investing in the time to explore their ventures in detail, so that when they commit fully they know that they will deliver the right outcome and can continue to scale success for the industry.”
“McCain Foods are leading the way in sustainable initiatives in a way SAI Platform supports, and equally all of our members can learn and take inspiration from their example as we look to the future of sustainable farming practice”, concluded Adrian.
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