Danish farmers Kristian and Maria Lundgaard-Karlshøj will today be presented with the WWF Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award at a ceremony in Warsaw, Poland. The jury is impressed by the wide range of measures the conventional livestock and organic crop farmers employ to reduce nutrient runoff, as well as by their dedication to pursuing new strategies for sustainable and future-proof agriculture. The award was created by WWF in 2009 to recognize farmers who are taking exemplary steps to reduce nutrient runoff into the Baltic Sea.
The Baltic Sea Farmer of the Year Award competition selects national winners from eleven countries within the Baltic Sea catchment. This year, Kristian and Maria Lundgaard-Karlshøj and their farm in northwest Denmark were recognized as the most outstanding example. As the regional winner, they are receiving a grand prize of 10,000 Euros in recognition of their accomplishments.
“It is great to receive recognition for doing something that you believe in,” says Kristian. “Winning will definitely help us do more of what we are doing and reach our goals. It will also empower us with greater leadership as we steer our farm, our employees, and our surroundings towards a more sustainable way of farming, doing business, and living.”
Kristian first learned about the problem of eutrophication through his work as a chair member of Denmark’s Sektionen for Større Jordbrug (Section for Greater Agriculture) during a discussion about farming with a long-term perspective. Inspired, Kristian decided to take action on his own farm. One of the key measures Kristian and Maria practice to prevent nutrient run-off is conducting farming activities at the right time and with good machine capacity. Additionally, all manure and plant waste are treated in an on-site biogas plant before field application to ensure a higher uptake of nutrients. They have also built small ponds on the farm to collect excess nutrient drainage. In 2018, they received approval to construct a one-hectare wetland. Once constructed, it’s expected to reduce run-off to the local fjord by 744 kilograms of nitrogen per year.
“Kristian and Maria want their farm to be sustainable and future-proof, and for this reason, they make efforts in all fields of environment, climate, energy, self-sufficiency, and animal welfare,” states the official Jury motivation. “The farm also takes part in a pioneering research study, together with The Danish Technological Institute, on the production of mealworms as a source of protein for human food products as well as animal feed.”
An award for farmers who make a difference
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 on their farms. Applications are received from farmers from countries within the Baltic Sea catchment who are practicing both organic and conventional farming, as well as many different types of agriculture. The national winners, chosen by juries in each country, each receive a prize of 1,000 Euros. From these national winners, an international jury selects a regional winner who receives a grand prize of 10,000 Euros.
So far, around fifty farmers around the Baltic Sea have been awarded for their efforts and use of innovative measures. The countries participating in the award are Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and Ukraine.
“Around 97% of the Baltic Sea is still affected by eutrophication, and agricultural measures remain a critical part of the solution,” says Ottilia Thoreson, Director of the WWF Baltic Programme. “This year’s winners not only prove that taking effective measures to reduce nutrient runoff is possible, but they also show us that these solutions can yield recognizable co-benefits for farm productivity, and the surrounding community and ecosystem.”
This year’s award ceremony will take place on the 25 September in Warsaw, Poland. In addition to recognizing the regional winner, the ceremony will feature all of this year’s national winners who will share more about their experiences and approaches to sustainable farming. Experts from the agricultural field will also join the ceremony and lead discussions on the topics of soil health, water, and closed loop-farming.
For more information please contact:
Ottilia Thoreson, Director, WWF Baltic Programme
+46 8 624 74 15
Hannah Griffiths Berggren, Communications Manager, WWF Baltic Programme
+46 8 515 114 83
Information to editors
Future-proof farming: Farming that can meet present and future needs to ensure viability for future generations