Press release|29 Oct, 2021

WWF awards Finnish farmer grand prize for outstanding efforts to curb nutrient runoff to the Baltic Sea

SauliBrander_badge_updated

Today, farmers from across the Baltic region will be presented with the WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award for their exemplary use of sustainable farming practices to curb nutrient runoff. The international jury has selected Sauli Brander, a Finnish organic crop farmer, to receive the grand prize of 10,000 Euros for exceptional efforts made on Lisko Farm.

“Lisko Farm checks all the boxes when it comes to the recommended farming practices while serving as an excellent example of how successful crop production and environmental protection can coexist,” says Markus Eerola from the international jury.

Practices employed on Lisko Farm include the maintenance of built wetlands and buffer zones, intercropping, nutrient recycling with chicken manure, and precision farming techniques. The farm also maintains 370 hectares of FSC certified forestland, with 30 hectares dedicated to preservation and biodiversity. The majority of electricity and heating needs are self-sufficiently generated from solar panels and wood chips.

“Of course, I am pleased to have this honour, but nothing special has been invented on the farm,” says Sauli Brander. “We’ve studied the latest research and practical experiments conducted by other farmers, and implemented those best practices on our farm.”  

Asked about what kind of support is needed to encourage more farmers in the Baltic region to adopt sustainable practices, Sauli replies:

“More research is needed for climate positive cultivation, and financial support is needed for investments. Support is also needed to facilitate knowledge exchange between farmers, and between farmers and the agricultural industry.” 

About the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award  

The WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award was launched in 2009 to highlight best practices and recognize farmers who are leading the way to reduce nutrient runoff across the region. So far, about 80 farmers from around the Baltic Sea have been awarded for their efforts and use of innovative measures. 

Applications are received from farmers residing in countries within the Baltic Sea catchment who are practicing both organic and conventional farming, as well as many different types of agriculture. Participating countries include Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Belarus, and Ukraine. The national winners are chosen by juries in each country and receive a prize of 1,000 Euros. From the pool of national winners, an international jury selects a regional winner who receives a grand prize of 10,000 Euros. 

Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s award ceremony will be limited to a small number of participants and take place at the regional winner’s farm. However, a small gathering is planned in the early spring of next year to bring together all of the winning farmers and create an opportunity to exchange ideas, concrete solutions, and collaborative approaches for putting the winning practices to work.

“Sustainable agriculture has a critical role to play in combating the problem of eutrophication,” says Anu Suono, Manager of the Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award. “We need to keep working together as a region to reduce emissions so that the Baltic marine ecosystem can recover and stand a chance against other stressors like climate change.”  

To learn more about this year’s winning farmers and the farming practices that make a difference for the Baltic Sea, visit www.wwfbalticfarmer.org/project/sauli-brander/

For more information please contact:

Valerie de Liderkerke, Interim Director, WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme, valerie.deliedekerke@wwf.se +46735794081

Hannah Griffiths Berggren, Communications Manager, WWF Baltic Programme Hannah.griffiths.berggren@wwf.se
+46 8 515 114 83

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Last modified 29/10/21

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