Vista Valley Ag Presented with Stewardship Award

Published online: Jan 12, 2017
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Boyd Foster of Vista Valley Ag in Ririe, Idaho, received the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award during the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2017 annual meeting, held Jan. 6 in San Francisco. The award is a component of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, a partnership between the NPC and the U.S. EPA to protect the environment and promote the safe, effective use of pesticides.

Foster plants a rotation of potatoes, barley, wheat and alfalfa to reduce pest pressure. Integrated pest management is utilized throughout the farming operation, with each field or distinct cropping area being treated according to its specific need.  Foster has a direct role in implementing the strategies to endure the long-term sustainability of the farm. In order to conserve soil and foster native habitats for animals and insects, he plants a mix of natural grasses on pivot corners. This reduces erosion and provides habitat for native species of birds and animals. Occasionally, after nesting season, Vista Valley Ag mows to reduce fire risk and allow for new growth. The farm is also a past state winner of the Environmental Respect Award sponsored by DuPont.

Foster has served as a board member for many local boards, co-ops and canal companies, including the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Board. He has represented Idaho on the U.S. Potato Board (now Potatoes USA), serving two years on the executive committee board and one year as chairman of the domestic marketing committee. He has also been Idaho’s delegate to the NPC. Foster currently serves as a grower commissioner on the Idaho Potato Commission, a position he was appointed to by the governor of Idaho, Butch Otter.

To support the community, Foster and his wife Laurie annually host their Old-Fashioned Potato Pick the first Saturday before potato harvest. Community members are invited to bring their families and watch the potato combine dig potatoes. They also glean the crop to take home for personal use and storage.

A video highlighting the effort made by Foster and his family to preserve and improve the environmental sustainability of their farm is available for use in schools and civic organizations. The video can be viewed below.

The deadline to submit nominations for the NPC’s 2017 Environmental Stewardship Award is Friday, March 31. The NPC executive committee will make the selection and present the winner at the 2018 NPC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Applications are available by emailing the NPC.