In 2019, conventional livestock and organic crop farmers Kristian and Maria Lundgaard-Karlshoj won the Grand Prize Regional Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award in recognition of the impressive range of measures they employ at Ausumgaard I/S to reduce nutrient runoff, as well for their dedication to testing new sustainable and future-proof strategies.
“It meant a lot to us to win the award,” says Kristian. “All our farm workers were very proud, many of our neighbours congratulated us and we gained a lot of respect. The recognition also gave us more credibility and helped us communicate better about the actions we are taking for the environment and climate.”
Checking in with them two years later, Kristian and Maria report they have now expanded their organic cropland by 250 hectares and stepped up their production of biogas. A planned wetland construction project was delayed due to administrative issues. The pigs on the farm are now raised using organic methods, and the farmers have the ambition to restart their chicken welfare program.
Kristian and Maria are also very excited about a new grass protein project. They plan to grow high-protein grass to use as pig feed and in biogas production, and then recirculate the fibres as added nutrients in the fields.
“When you’re talking about sustainability, grass is good for a lot of reasons,” says Kristian. “Besides being a good source of protein, growing it helps enhance biodiversity and enrich the soil. Also, in Denmark, we have a lot of lowland areas where you can have problems with nutrients, and growing grass is a very positive way to address this.”