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News|28 Feb, 2011

2011 “Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award” now open for applications

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Many farmers take measures to reduce nutrient runoff to the Baltic Sea on their own initiative. With this award WWf wants to show how important their work is.

Today WWF and Swedbank, together with the Baltic Farmers Forum for the Environment (BFFE) and farmers’ organisations around the Baltic Sea, open the competition for this year’s “Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award”. The purpose of the award is to highlight best practices in “Baltic-friendly” farming and to recognize farmers who are leading in innovative measures to reduce runoff from their farms. There will be a monetary prize awarded to the regional winner of 10,000 Euros. The winners of each national competition will receive a certificate, a paid trip to the conference, and a nominal monetary prize of 1,000 Euros.

For the third year running, WWF is inviting individual farmers, farmers’ organisations and other interested parties to apply to the annual competition. Farmers are encouraged to self-nominate or be nominated by their country’s farmers’ organisations to enter the competition. Award criteria and application forms can be downloaded from www.panda.org/baltic, and the deadline for submitting applications is 30 September 2011.

The competition will select one main regional winner from a pool of nine national nominees, representing each Baltic Sea country. A conference will be held at the end of the competition inviting the nine winning nominee farmers from each country to discuss ways in which to advance the application of environmentally friendly farming around the region.

“When we look at farming and the Baltic Sea, the focus is often on the problem of eutrophication”, says Pauli Merriman, Director of WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme. With this award, we want to show that there are concrete examples of farmers who are taking the extra steps to go beyond the ordinary, and really contribute valuable solutions.”

“The competition in previous years has been a huge success and drawn attention to the important issue of eutrophication and the good examples of things that can be done. Farmers have an important role to play and they also represent a very important part of our customers. Swedbank is committed to the principle of corporate responsibility and creating a more sustainable Baltic Sea region” says Magnus Hammar at Swedbank.

The winners of each national contest and the winner of the regional award will be announced in the autumn of this year. WWF will publish the winning contributions, highlighting the best practices provided by these farmers as well as the importance of sustainable agriculture to reduce the threat of eutrophication to the Baltic Sea.

Last year’s winners, Swedish couple Håkan and Teri Lee Eriksson, were awarded “for their dedicated commitment to showing how a modern farm can apply environmental measures to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses. It was the jury’s belief that the Erikssons have really gone the extra mile to save the Baltic Sea, and that the measures they have taken can be replicated by many other similar farms in the Baltic Sea region.”

WWF is committed to reducing the threat of eutrophication to the Baltic ecosystem and is therefore working to dramatically reduce the inputs of both phosphorus and nitrogen to the sea with a specific focus on promoting the application of environmentally friendly farming practices in the Baltic catchment area.

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