Boyd Foster of Vista Valley Ag in Ririe, ID, received the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award during the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2017 Annual Meeting, which was held Jan. 6 in San Francisco, CA. The award is a component of the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, a partnership between NPC and EPA to protect the environment and promote the safe and effective use of pesticides.
Foster plants a rotation of potatoes, barley, wheat, and alfalfa to reduce pest pressure. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is utilized throughout the farming operation with each field or distinct cropping area being treated according to its specific needs. Foster has a direct role in implementing the strategies to endure the long-term sustainability of the farm.
To conserve soil and encourage native habitats for animals and insects, Foster 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, the operation mows to reduce the 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 United States Potato Board, serving two years on the Executive Committee Board and one year as Chairman of Domestic Marketing. He has also been Idaho’s delegate to NPC. Currently he serves as a Grower Commissioner on the Idaho Potato Commission, a position he was appointed to by the Governor of Idaho.
To support the community, Foster and his wife hold an Old-Fashioned Potato Pick, scheduled annually for the first Saturday before potato harvest. Community members are invited to bring their families and watch the potato combine dig spuds. They also glean the crop to take home for personal use and storage. This is one way the Fosters share their farm with the community.
A video highlighting the efforts 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 deadline to submit nominations for 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, FL. Applications are available by emailing the NPC.