02 December 2021
High standards lead to three additional commendations
THE standard of entry for the 2021 National Potato Industry Awards (NPIA) was so strong that judges were torn between two of the categories, and opted to award a ‘highly recommended’ alongside the winner’s trophy, as well as paying tribute to some of the other finalists whose contributions were all considered note-worthy.
Of the six award categories, which to date have each featured a winner and varying numbers of finalists, three featured ‘highly commended’ this year, because the panel of independent judges felt it was such a ‘close call’.
In the Agronomy Award, Graham Tomalin was highly commended, narrowly missing out on the winner’s trophy, which was taken by Jeff Beever.
“The winner is a driving force in the use of alternative sprout control measures since the demise of CIPC. He has succeeded in producing and processing significant tonnage across the whole of the UK. He deserves recognition for his dedication and professionalism to making new sprout controls systems work,” the judges’ statement announced.
While AR & SA White took the winner’s trophy in the Grower category, Tom Stevenson was also highly commended, with judges spending some time deciding who deserved the ultimate gong. In their statement they said: “The winner was felt to be a true family business which works closely to produce fine quality salad potatoes. Every single detail is scrutinised and considered, resulting in high yields and excellent quality.”
The third category to have an additional ‘highly commended’ was the Innovation Award, where UPL’s ARGOS innovation narrowly lost out to the Restrain Company Limited.
The judges statement announced: “There was such a varied and interesting selection of entries in this category that the judges were sure to award a Highly Commended which went to UPL for its new sprout control product – ARGOS.
“The winner, Restrain Company Limited, began its story when it set out to find a safe, effective way to prevent sprouting in potatoes. Its research led to conducting trials with ethylene, which was so successful the company was born. Since this time, the system has been used to treat more than one million tonnes of seed, table and processing potatoes in 38 countries worldwide. It’s seen as a natural replacement for CIPC in potato storages.”
The Environmental Award went to AH Worth, which had embarked on a regenerative agriculture journey. The farm was selected by M&S as a Farming with Nature Indicator and Innovation Farm.
The Machinery Award trophy went to GRIMME UK Ltd for the VARITRON 470 which helps to optimise and improve harvest performance whilst saving operating costs, and the Marketing Award went to the Isle of Ely Produce/Chippy Chat which supplies potatoes to multiple marketplaces including markets, restaurants and takeaways through wholesalers and merchants.
For the full list of winners, runners-up and finalists, along with judges’ comments, please click here.