Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Farmers of the Future 2021 announced

The three candidates for the award of Farmers of the Future 2021 have been selected in the following categories: sustainability, sales, and technology.

Every year, the agricultural sector and SEGES select the winners of the Farmers of the Future award. It is awarded to three Danish farmers who have made great progress in sustainable and technological agricultural production and have shown enterprise in the sale of their products.

"Today we want to congratulate three farmers who have thought differently. Farmers who are perhaps a little further along with technology or just a step closer to consumers,” said Anne Lawaetz Arhnung, CEO, Danish Agriculture and Food Council at the virtual awards presentation.

"We all need someone we can be inspired by. Around the country, there are both skilled and enterprising farmers who are helping to develop the industry, create growth and improve Danish agriculture every single day,” Anne Lawaetz Arhnung continued.

Sustainability and pig production go hand in hand
Pig and crop producer, Michael Bundgaard, is the recipient of the Sustainable Farmer of the Future award. He farms 2,000 hectares and has 3,500 sows. Initiatives such as conservation agriculture, fauna strips and energy production from five wind turbines and two biogas plants help to make his farm environmentally and economically more sustainable.

"It all comes down to the economy, nature and biodiversity. Our green energy production alone produces a surplus in relation to the farm’s energy consumption. And a walk across our fields reveals an abundance of fauna – and that gives me a great deal of pleasure,” said Michael Bundgaard.

Read also: Substantial subsidies for more environmental housing

Production and sale of pig meat in partnership with local chefs
With a 175-hectare farm, producing 2,600 pigs per year, and a small herd of beef cattle, farmer Carsten Rønde was named Farmer of the Future for Sales. He has succeeded at bringing his food production one step closer to consumers.

Through direct contact with local chefs, he has adapted his production of organic pigs to the chefs’ requirements. This means that he currently produces traditional breeds of organic pigs, which have been given three welfare hearts. His herd comprises the Gammel Dansk Landrace anno 1970.

"Gammel Dansk Landrace is a good and fat pig that’s great to work with. It has the right amount of fat for our chefs,” says Claus Rønde.

From farm to fork
The meat is sold to restaurants and retailers, which is why the breeding and production story is particularly important. Under the auspices of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, trainee chefs have also been sent to the farm to gain an insight into a pig’s journey from farm to consumer.

Through collaboration, what was a part-time farm with a few organic sows has now been turned into a full-time job and a profitable business. This approach to farming is a ground-breaking concept as to how farmers can adapt their production through closer collaboration with consumers and increase the already high level of traceability, animal welfare and sustainability in the production of Danish pig meat.

Read also: Pork dish of the year 2020

Systematics is profitable for technological farming
The Technological Farmer of the Future award was won by Hans Sørensen. With a farm of 540 hectares and 14,000 finishers per year, a systematic farming method is required, which is also reflected in the farm’s approach to arable farming. With the aim of improving the farm’s bottom line and reducing its environmental impact, Hans Sørensen deploys special technology and GPS to optimise his field cultivation.

"I achieve more uniform fields and the technology delivers a reduction in chemicals of up to 50 per cent, i.e. straw shorteners and pesticides are reduced. It gives me peace of mind to know that we’re doing something to preserve nature and biodiversity,” says Hans Sørensen.

He points out that it requires a resolute approach to systematics to achieve results throughfully embracing technology in crop production. In the long-term, the results from precision equipment can improve financial performance and reduce environmental impact. Employees are also more motivated, and the grading of fields provides an overview of crop growth and soil conditions.

The purpose of the Farmer of the Future awards

  • The aim is to inspire and motivate other farmers with a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • It should be possible to develop the farmers’ ideas into reality so as to deliver growth for farmers and the agricultural industry.
  • The winners each receive DKK 25,000 and extra prizes from the sponsors.