Brendon and Sheldon Rockey of Rockey Farms in Center, Colorado, were named the recipients of the prestigious 2014 Environmental Stewardship Award presented at the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2015 Annual Meeting, held January 9-10, in Orlando, Florida.
The annual 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, who are the primary sponsor of the annual award.
Rockey Farms, Center, Co, wins 2014 NPC Environmental Stewardship Award
Rockey Farms is the model example of a family farm that has demonstrated its commitment to stewardship of its land and protection of our shared environment. By being good stewards of the land, they preserve their farm and the rural landscape for generations to come, while producing high-quality potatoes. Brandon and Sheldon run a third generation family farm that was started by their grandfather in 1938 and later taken over by their father and uncle.
“We are honored to receive this award. The practices we are being recognized for are environmentally friendly, but they also promote soil health, which allows us to maintain an efficient yet productive ecological system. We also feel that these practices help the San Luis Valley function as a whole,” said Brendon Rockey.
Rockey Farms was recognized for its outstanding achievement in reducing the risk of pesticides on the farm without compromising potato yield or quality. Several diseases are eliminated due to the dry air and good light intensity which are a benefit of the high altitude. The farm also provides a diverse habitat for beneficial insects that feed on aphids and other pests.
Manure composts, which have a high level of organic matter, are a part of the nutrient cycling system on the farm. Composts improve soil fertility and structure, which adds to its water holding capacity, makes the soil less prone to wind erosion, and produces a higher quality and better tasting potato.
The video of Rockey Farms sustainability practices was created through the generous sponsorship of DuPont Crop Protection. Each year, videos of Environmental Stewardship Award winners are used by schools, agricultural organizations, and civic groups to demonstrate the potato industry’s commitment to sound environmental stewardship.