Potato sector’s top seeds awarded by farm levy body

AHDB Potatoes chairman Sophie Churchill presents an award to Jim Aiken

Farm levy body AHDB Potatoes has named the recipients of two major industry awards.

Renowned potato agronomist Jim Aiken has been awarded the Above and Beyond Award, while the Potato Industry Award has been presented posthumously to PepsiCo’s late sustainability manager, Mark Pettigrew.

Mr Aiken works as a senior field manager for Branston, where he works closely with the company’s Scottish grower group, whose tattie growing area covers more than 6,000 acres.

Judges praised him for driving the technical agenda across his grower base, and said he was “well respected amongst his peers”.

Mr Aiken said: “The potato sector is such an important part of UK agriculture, and I feel passionate about the role that I play within Branston to ensure the ever increasing market needs in this industry are met with quality products.”

Meanwhile, Mr Pettigrew, who died in September following a short illness, spent his entire working life in agriculture with the final 20 years spent at PepsiCo.

He was praised for his role in the company’s “50 in 5” programme, which saw a 50% reduction in the carbon footprint of all potato production for Walkers and a 50% water reduction in East Anglia over five years.