Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Governor C..L. Butch Otter presents Tsukamoto Excellence Award


Governor Otter and Alan Tsukamoto, originally uploaded by IdFarmBureau.

Tsukamoto honored at Ag Summit

Boise--Alan Tsukamoto accepted the Governors Excellence in Agriculture award on behalf of his father Masa at the 15th Annual Larry Branen Idaho Ag Summit.

Masa Tsukamoto passed away in October, the Blackfoot farmer served the agriculture industry for more than 58 years through service organizations and inventions like the E-Z Tarp which covers loads of spuds and beets with a protective tarp for transport. Just about every innovation Masa came up with, son Alan helped built it. This father-son team has left a mark on world agriculture.

Tsukamoto developed The E-Z Tarp system in the mid 1980s to solve problems related to tarping loaded potato trucks in the field. The old tarp systems required truck drivers to climb onto the truck to cover the load. It was dangerous,took valuable time and bruised potatoes. E-Z tarp saved farmers untold millions of dollars in expenses.

After E-Z Tarp was patented, Tsukamoto developed the Cellar Duck, also marketed by EZ Tarp. Masa saw the need to keep the cellar ventilation pipes clean and disease free of and pests where potatoes are stored. The Cellar Duck washes ventilation pipes inside and out with high pressure water while disinfecting them in just 90 seconds with just the push of a button.

Masa Tsukamoto also invented a water saver wheel thats equipped with five spokes and spades that prevents wasting water in fields during irrigation. He also created a shoe for potato planters that reduced soil compaction around the potato seed. These last two inventions were never patented by Masa, but were ‘imitated’ and manufactured by others since their creation.

Tsukamoto served on the advisory board of the Bingham County Extension Potato Specialist, on the Board and Bargaining Committee of the Potato Growers of Idaho, and the Board of the Idaho Potato Expo. He was awarded Lifetime Membership in the Potato Association of America in 1997, was named “Grower of the Year” in 1988 by the Idaho Potato Grower Magazine, and inducted in the Idaho Potato Hall of Fame in 1998.

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