Judges outline their priorities for awards entries


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17 March 2019
Judges outline their priorities for awards entries

The National Potato Industry Awards offer growers, agronomists and suppliers of potato equipment or crop protection products a platform to demonstrate their commitment to raising industry standards, judges have stated.

The judging panel met recently to seek agreement on how nominations for the various categories would be assessed. There are six awards categories – Grower, Agronomy, Machinery, Innovation, Environmental and Marketing.

Suffolk early prepack producer James Foskett and Branston agronomy director David Nelson agreed that the NPIA scheme would give nominees a valuable opportunity to show pride in their individual businesses and to gain wider recognition for their endeavours and the dedication that has brought them to the shortlists.

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The collective view was that the awards should be seen as an opportunity to highlight significant contributions to the overall success of the potato industry, with Shropshire farmer Richard Solari summing up the potential benefits with one word – kudos. He spoke for all his fellow judges when he said it was an honour to be involved in an exercise which sought to reward commitment and talent.

Chairman of the Fresh Potato Suppliers Association, Mark Taylor, brought with him an exhaustive list of potential attributes gained from past experience with retail supply awards. These were gradually whittled down to produce four key considerations which, it was agreed, could be applied equally well to all five awards:

  1. A sound business plan – For potato growers in particular this should include a full understanding of production costs, a commitment to sustainability and planning for future investment.
  2. Market focus – Ranked highly in this category are commitments to quality management, customer satisfaction, reliable service and an attitude to business which the judges described as ‘going above and beyond’.
  3. Demonstrating excellence and best practice – Key considerations here will include attention to detail, the adoption of new technology and making decisions which reflect up-to-date information ¬– the latter based on the oft-quoted maxim ‘If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it’.
  4. Risk management – This includes a demonstrable commitment to environmental responsibilities and product stewardship, adoption of good health and safety standards and measures to ensure operator well-being.

The judges urged readers of Potato Review to nominate those who have made a difference by adopting new techniques or ground breaking practices, by helping to drive consumption or improve efficiency, by their commitment to new product development, or simply showing ingenuity and passion.

Director of Agriculture at McCain Foods, Daniel Metheringham (pictured), has now joined our panel of judges