Regional Farmer of the Year Award 2020 Postponed
The covid-19 pandemic is also having consequences for the popular competition – the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year. WWF has decided to cancel the regional event this year. The next regional award ceremony will take place in 2021.
“Unfortunately, it is not possible to carry out the necessary farm visits in many countries around the region. It is also uncertain if it will be possible to arrange an international conference for the award ceremony this autumn. WWF thanks the farmers who have already submitted nominations. We will save them for next year,” says Ottilia Thoresen, Director of the WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme.
An award for farmers who make a difference
Eutrophication of the Baltic Sea has been going on for decades and, according to one recent study, the levels of hypoxia we see in coastal waters today are unprecedented over the last 1,500 years. As a semi-enclosed, intercontinental shelf sea, the Baltic Sea is particularly sensitive to the effects of nutrient runoff. An excess of nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, leads to a severe disruption of the ecosystem, with effects including extensive algal blooms, lack of oxygen in deep waters, and an increase of bottom areas with little or no oxygen – so-called ‘dead zones.’
The good news is that many of the worst point sources of pollution have already been addressed and significant gains have been made, including by improving wastewater treatment facilities and addressing industry runoff. However, agricultural activities continue to be a major source of nutrients.
Many farmers are prepared to go the extra mile to help save the Baltic Sea. The winners of the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award have all taken measures on their own initiative to reduce nutrient runoff. With this award, WWF aims to highlight how important this work is and showcase good examples across the region.
The WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award was first introduced in 2009 as a way to inspire farmers and decision-makers in the agricultural sector. Juries select a national winner of the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award from 11 countries in the Baltic Sea catchment area. The winners all receive a certificate and a nominal monetary award of 1,000 Euros. The eleven national winners will serve as the nominees from which the international jury will select one main regional winner – to be the 2020 Regional Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year and receive 10,000 Euros.
These 11 jury-selected winners serve as ambassadors of sustainable farming and they each have a compelling story to tell about their solutions for environmentally friendly farming and the results – both unexpected and expected – of their work. Read more about them in the 2019 brochure.
Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year criteria