The online survey will rank producers into a handful of categories: basic, steward, expert and master.
“It is quite elaborate – a total of 173 questions on all aspects of IPM,” says LeClerc. “It is a very detailed survey, about all the activities on a farm that can impact pesticide use.”
A grower who qualifies at the basic level is following all existing regulations, and basic food safety requirements.
A steward is engaging in slightly more complex activities, including documentation of crop protection practices that goes beyond the bare legal minimum.
An expert is a farm that has established important goals and is applying environmental sustainability principles to the farm.
A master level operation would be certified for its sustainability and environmental practices and would have clearly documented a significant improvement in its environmental practices.
One important overall goal is to determine the average level of attainment for both the overall industry in both Canada and the U. S. as well as a market average for individual growing areas.
The survey will be available in the “second half of 2010” and LeClerc says McDonald’s has asked all its potato suppliers in North America to ask growers to participate in the survey. LeClerc stresses that the individual information will be directly available only to the groups administering the survey – the National Potato Council in the U. S. and the Canadian Hort Council in Canada – and would be available to the processors and McDonald’s only in global form.