WWF awards Polish farmer for efforts to reduce nutrient leakage to 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, Krzysztof Kowalski and his farm in central Poland were recognized as the most outstanding example. As the regional winner, he is receiving a grand prize of 10,000 Euros in recognition of his accomplishments.
“Winning is a great surprise,” says Krzysztof Kowalski. “It strengthens me in the belief that I have chosen the right path. I will not rest on my laurels and will continue to grow.”
Krzysztof Kowalski first learned about agriculture’s role in eutrophication after witnessing algal blooms in a lake in his region. The experience influenced him to start using fertilizers more economically and take other actions to reduce nutrient runoff. Today, besides applying fertilizers in a careful and well-timed manner, he practices crop rotation and has created nine midfield wetlands and various buffer zones. Last year, Krzysztof and his family additionally planted 1,080 trees along the river and between the fields to helps prevent runoff while also creating habitats for wild animals.
“We were impressed by the holistic approach towards sustainable crop and pig production taken by Mr. Kowalski at his farm,” states the official Jury motivation. “This farm has implemented an impressive range of measures to reduce nutrient leakage… [Mr. Kowalski] is also actively engaged in cooperation with other farmers to spread and communicate his experiences and knowledge.”
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, 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 50 farmers around the Baltic Sea have been awarded for their innovative measures. The countries participating in the award are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. This year, WWF is pleased to additionally welcome the participation of Belarus and Ukraine, which also have territories within the Baltic Sea catchment.
“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 WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme. “This year’s winners not only prove that taking effective measures to reduce nutrient runoff is possible, 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 in Jönköping, Sweden on October 24. 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 Ecoregion Programme
Tel: +46-73 27 45 867