Stewardship guiding principles

As an industry leader, NORPAC Foods realizes we have an obligation to take the initiative in developing new and progressive ideas.

Our board of directors and stewardship planning committee completed the mission and principles for our detailed environmental stewardship plan after 12 months of deep thought. At the forefront: nine Guiding Principles used to evaluate NORPAC’s 240 farmers. They will benefit the environment by enhancing soil resources, reducing water usage and lowering energy consumption.

  1. We believe in protecting and conserving water resources.

    Our course of action: we increase our irrigation water efficiency by monitoring the soil and using irrigation technology.

  2. We believe in protecting and enhancing soil resources.

    Our course of action: we reduce erosion and protect our soils by maximizing plant cover throughout the year. We use crop rotation that includes cover crops in order to build soil organic matter and productivity.

  3. We believe in using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce the use of pesticides.

    Our course of action: we employ prevention strategies to eliminate the need for a pesticide application. We select only the products that are the most beneficial and minimize ecological disruption.

  4. We believe in conserving and enhancing wildlife habitat.

    Our course of action: we foster vegetative cover, food and water resources necessary for habitat by using methods such as establishing or maintaining biological corridors, managing mowing and grazing cycles, restoring or protecting wetlands, prairies and woodlands.

  5. We believe in conserving and recycling nutrients.
  6. Our course of action: we conserve and recycle nutrients by converting organic waste into productive uses and by seeking ways to generate nutrients on our farms through such methods as growing cover crops between vegetable cycles to add nutrients and preserve soil quality. We also recycle nutrient-rich waste water back into growing crops.

  7. We believe in providing safe and fair working conditions for our employees and our families.

    Our course of action: we develop farm policies in order to establish open channels for communicating workplace safety and satisfaction. We incorporate quality of life issues into our daily decision-making processes for our families, employees and communities.

  8. We believe in producing crops for NORPAC without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

    Our course of action: we grow crops for NORPAC from seed varieties developed through conventional breeding techniques. Our crops are appropriately isolated by time or distance to preserve their identity.

  9. We believe in continually improving farm practices.

    Our course of action: we set goals and assess our progress toward them by monitoring the results of our decisions on our farm, family, employees and the environment. We seek out new and innovative management techniques to integrate into our farm management.

  10. We believe in producing safe, wholesome, high quality fruits and vegetables.

    Our course of action: we produce and process crops using Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Systems to ensure the food safety of our fruits and vegetables.

View Our Sustaining Principles brochure

Our Sustaining Principles Brochure

Gauging success in our processing plants

Environmental stewardship applies to more than just the growing fields. We at NORPAC believe stewardship should be a part of every important operation including production. Thanks to our environmental engineering team, we rely on decades of experience to make sure our five processing plants and labeling facility operate as efficiently as possible. Through quantifiable tracking studies, our team can help reduce usage, promote recycling wherever possible and design processing equipment and employee performance to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

Just a few specific actions NORPAC is taking include:
  • Using computer-based controls to help us carefully manage energy usage to heat raw products during production and then cool them in freezers for storage
  • Recycling, whenever possible, nutrient-rich waste water from production facilities back to the land for raising crops and reducing energy, preserving rivers and improving farm nutrients
  • Buying packaging supplies designed to meet customer and production demands, yet reducing waste and materials consumed whenever possible.

Helping care for the communities we live in.

NORPAC, along with 26 other participating organizations, helped launch the Oregon Sustainability Agriculture Resource Center (OSARC). The Center is at the forefront of sustainability thinking in the U.S. Its purpose: to serve as an innovative technical and educational resource designed to support the ongoing sustainability efforts of farmers in Oregon and across the country.

Believing in supporting the communities in which we live, NORPAC actively participates in many non-profit organizations. For example, we donate more than 700,000 pounds of healthy, life-sustaining food annually to the Oregon Food Bank and other regional food organizations.

The harvest for future generations.

To measure the effectiveness of the NORPAC stewardship program, our farmers are evaluated through third-party certifiers. Farms are audited on how well they meet NORPAC’s Nine Guiding Principles for stewardship. At present, more than 80 members have been successfully audited and found to be in compliance with NORPAC’s Stewardship Guidelines.

Such accountability shows our customers we care about keeping our promises for generations to come. After all, it’s what they expect from a leader. The way we at NORPAC see it, a program is only as good as the people involved with it. Our farmers - from the largest to the smallest - believe in the value of sustainability. To us, it means better products for our customers. It provides better jobs for our communities, and it enhances the environment for all to appreciate now and for future generations.