Each year, the National Potato Council holds an awards banquet at its Annual Meeting to honor individuals whose work has aided the industry in addressing issues that impact potato production. The awards banquet provides a venue to highlight the contributions, dedication, and leadership of deserving individuals who emerge from a competitive pool of nominees. The Environmental Stewardship Award is a component of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program—a partnership between NPC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment and promote the safe and effective use of pesticides.
Once again, NPC partnered with DuPont Crop Protection, the primary sponsor of the annual award and the production of the Environmental Stewardship video. This year’s recipients are Brendon and Sheldon Rockey of Rockey Farms in Center, Colo.
The Meritorious Service Award recognizes one individual whose work has aided the industry in addressing issues that impact potato production. This year’s recipient is the late Dr. Christian Thill of the University of Minnesota. Dr. Thill was a potato breeder, plant geneticist, and professor whose untimely death robbed a family of a loving father and took from the potato industry a passionate and accomplished potato breeder. The University of Minnesota has established a scholarship in his honor.
The Seed Grower of the Year Award honors a grower who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership both on the farm and across the potato industry. This year’s recipients are Corrie and Tom Enander of Enander Seed Farm in Grenora, N.D.
The NPC Industry Award, given to an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty by making tremendous personal sacrifices for the betterment of the potato industry, was awarded to Matt Lantz of Seattle, Wash. Lantz provides leadership to the potato industry in efforts to expand exports of U.S. seed, fresh and frozen processed potatoes.
NPC Presidential Awards are given annually to one or more individuals by the NPC president to those who have supported and mentored the president during his time of leadership. This year, 2014 president Randy Hardy recognized Michael Cranney, Karlene Hardy and Benjamin Hardy, all of Oakley, Idaho.