Today, WWF opens the competition for the 2015 “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 advancing innovative measures to reduce runoff from their farms to the Baltic Sea.
WWF is inviting individual farmers, family farms and farm enterprises – conventional as well as organic – to apply to the competition. Farmers are encouraged to self-nominate or be nominated by their country’s farmers’ organisations. In each country around the Baltic Sea, one winner will be selected and presented with a certificate and a nominal monetary award of 1000 Euros. The nine national winners will then serve as the nominees from which an international jury will select one regional winner – to be the 2015 Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year. The regional winner will receive a certificate and a monetary award of 10,000 Euros.
“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 to benefit the Baltic Sea,” says Ottilia Thoreson, manager of the WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme.
Last year’s winners, Latvian Juris Cirulis and Vija Cirule, were awarded for their holistic approach to running a conventional dairy and crop farm that optimizes the use of resources and by-products.
“Farmers themselves have to acknowledge their impact on the environment, and develop food safety and environmental aspects of the production cycle in unison, as an important social responsibility,” says Juris Cirulis, regional winner of the 2014 Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award.
WWF is committed to reducing the threat of eutrophication to the Baltic ecosystem and is therefore working to 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.
Facts on the WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award:
The award, founded in 2009 by WWF, aims to raise awareness about all the good initiatives taken by farmers in the Baltic region to achieve sustainable agriculture. It is also intended to promote cooperation around the region in order to further the application and promotion of good environmental practice in the agriculture sector.
Award criteria and application forms can be downloaded from www.panda.org/baltic_farmer and the deadline for submitting applications is 17 April 2015.
Previous recipients of the regional award: Katariina Vapola and Jyrki Ankelo from Finland (2009); Håkan and Teri Lee Eriksson from Sweden (2010); Marian Rak from Poland (2011); Juhan Särgava from Estonia (2013); Juris Cirulis and Vija Cirule from Latvia (2014).