Meg Leader, representing the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Division of Soil Conservation, recently attended the Red Gold Growers’ Field Day to announce the 2015 winners of the seventh annual Red Gold Conservation Stewardship Award. The Field Day took place at Red Gold’s corporate headquarters in Elwood, IN.
The Red Gold Stewardship Award Program was established to showcase the conservation efforts employed by Red Gold Growers. This award program highlights the conservation practices of growers and encourages all Red Gold growers to evaluate their farm management practices and make improvements.
This program demonstrates Red Gold’s companywide commitment to good stewardship practices. Red Gold encourages their tomato producers to adopt good conservation practices and has instilled an atmosphere of continuous improvement.
“Red Gold’s dedication to promote conservation techniques among their producers is a true testament to how their company recognizes the importance of our land and environment,” said ISDA Director Ted McKinney. “We are very proud to be part of the award ceremony and look forward to continuing our partnership with Red Gold for many years to come.”
This year’s competition reached an all-time high of over 90% of Red Gold growers participating in the Red Gold Conservation Stewardship Awards. The competition for the award was particularly stiff this year, with seven of the growers qualifying as finalists. The finalists’ operations did not fit into any particular model of a typical Red Gold grower – from a “traditional” family owned and operated farm that has been working the same land for the last century to a first-generation tomato grower to a woman-owned and operated farm. Their operations ranged from less than a decade of growing tomatoes to nearly seven decades. While all their operations raised other crops, there was a wide degree of variation between the management of the rest of their operations.
Adam Meyers of Myers Sod Farm of Seymour, IN, was the 2015 2nd place winner. Myers Farms received a $500 scholarship and an extra half truck load of tomatoes per day during harvest. Myers Farms raises more than 100 acres of tomatoes on an operation that covers nearly 1,200 acres. Myers Farms’ primary crop is grass sod and is a supplier of turf grass for sports teams and colleges across multiple states.
Greg, Troy and Brent Lievens of Lievens Bros. in Petersburg, MI was the 2015 Red Gold Stewardship winner. Lievens Bros. received a $1,000 scholarship and an extra full truck load of tomatoes per day during harvest. Growing for Red Gold since the early 1990’s, Lievens Bros. grow tomatoes as part of a four year rotation using reduced tillage or no-till in every year of their rotation. They use soil testing and replicated fertilizer rate trials as well as variable rate technology to monitor and control nutrient rates on their crops.