He is the point of contact for many of our potato seed growers. Peter Boutkan is our field staff in the province of North Holland. Peter has been with our organisation for 19 years and knows Agrico and his growers like the back of his hand.
Peter Boutkan, field staff
I have been working for Agrico as a PTA (product technical department) advisor i and around Wieringermeer since 1991. Altogether I am responsible for around 600 hectares of seed potatoes grown by about 50 growers. In the summer I inspect the fields, and in the autumn I record the yield and its quality. I also agree the acreage for the next crop with the growers. An advisor also provides advice and works actively with the grower logistics department to organise growers to grade the potatoes.
Career development at Agrico
Although the work basically stays the same, over the years some things have changed. And that's what makes my work so exciting, along with the changing of the seasons and the differences between the years. One example is our merger with Wolf & Wolf, which resulted in increased acreage and more growers. The boundaries of the territories have been changed several times, so I worked in Friesland for a while, for example. And the advisor’s duties have also changed over the years. The organisation of the grading now tends to be handled by the grower logistics department. My job is to be the eyes and ears of the office, so that my colleagues in logistics can place grading and loading orders with growers 'blindfold'.
Interest in single plant selection
Quite a lot of growers in Wieringermeer are involved in single plant selection and therefore in growing high-quality material. I have been interested in this from the word go, and I have also been encouraging growers to take part. At the moment I am closely involved in the strategy to raise the standard of this high-quality material even further. Our aim is to bring more structure into the planning for the longer term.
The Meloidogyne chitwoodi problem
In early 2000, the occurrence of Meloidogyne chitwoodi was a serious problem in Wieringermeer. I became closely involved in this through Agrico. We are noticing that the time I spent on chitwoodi at Agrico is now beginning to bear fruit. Our growers see Agrico as a partner that markets potatoes as commercially as possible but that also looks beyond just getting a good price. Fortunately, Agrico is such a strong organisation that a broader vision does not have to come at the expense of a good price.
We get the job done together
I see Agrico as a no-nonsense organisation with a clear focus on people. I'm glad Agrico gave me the opportunity to take my career further. We get the job done together. When you suffer a setback there's always someone on hand to help you. That not only applies to our growers; it applies to our staff too. If you have a problem, everyone is willing to go that extra mile for you. The world is becoming more and more individualistic, but the philosophy of cooperation still plays a subtle but key role in our company.