Juan Gonzalez-Valero, Prof. Winfried Blum, Prof. Mário Carvalho, Nuno Marques, Thierry de l'Escaille
Soil Award winner Nuno Marques offers his prize to ICAAM – Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas to support farm advisory system in his region in order to better inform farmers about the benefits of no-till, crop rotation and residue management.
This year the award was bestowed to the Portuguese Portalimpex Lda lead by Mr Nuno Marques for the project ‘Creating new land and soil management opportunities under Mediterranean soil and climatic limitations’, that he is running in cooperation with Professor Mário Carvalho, ICAAM.
The award was delivered in the context of the recent Regional FFA, that took place on June 13-14 in Vienna, Austria.
The project’s main objective is to achieve sustainable intensive agriculture under Mediterranean conditions with its climatic and soil constrains, by improving soil fertility, water and land productivity and the efficiency of external inputs.
The project is located on Herdade da Perreira, an 800 hectares estate in south of Portugal mainly producing beef, forage, and cereals. The key challenges on the estate were increased risk of runoff, erosion and compaction and the decline of soil biodiversity. All of which were resulted from the extensive use of intensive tillage. Over the last 30 years the project participants defined step by step the best ways to tackle these difficulties and finally developed a new management system that is based on conservation agriculture (no-till, crop rotation and residue management including animal manure) and the utilization of autumn-sown crops. This new system significantly improved the fertility and drainage of their soils, resulting in improved crop yield and extended animal grazing possibilities throughout autumn and early winter. The improved grazing periods have reduced the needs of stored fodder and imported animal feed. Furthermore, it has led to significant improvements in the efficiency of external inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and energy consumption that allowed the estate to save costs on production.
In the last years the farm has become a regional centre for the demonstration of an ecologically and economically successful and sustainable agricultural land management in Southern Portugal and neighbouring regions. Also students from neighbouring universities, such as of Evora are being trained at the cost of the applicant.
Mr Marques hopes that this award will enable him to raise awareness of his efforst and the work that was realised in the territory and will enable him to help other farmers to implement the same system.
Congratulations for their achievements.
Sustainable land and soil management is central to improve our food systems, maintain a healthy environment and ensure European rural development. Indeed, soils, through their structure and the great variety of species they host, perform numerous functions including food production, nutrient and water storage, filtering, buffering as well as breaking down and conserving organic matter. They also play a central role in the protection of water and in the natural exchange of gases with the atmosphere. Moreover, soils are biological habitats, gene pools, elements of landscapes and of cultural heritage as well as providers of raw materials. They are therefore crucial for agriculture and for all human beings as well as for nature itself, and are the foundation of our health and our wealth. Soils are as such part of Europe’s greatest treasures, thus, it is important to promote and reward practices which contribute to their protection.
About the Award
The prize rewards land use and soil management practices mitigating soil threats i.e. soil degradation, erosion, reduction of organic matter content, diffuse contamination, and compaction as well as the reduction of soil biodiversity, salinization, sealing, flooding and landslides. In doing so, the award sheds light on outstanding achievements, encouraging new concepts of land and soil protection and their implementation in land management, as well as enhancing awareness about the importance of land and soil functions.
Who can apply?
Farmers, landowners, land managers, groups of farmers, on their own or in collaboration with research institutes, universities and/or private companies.
Why to apply?
To recognize the great value of the farmer’s work, by promoting the winning project as a good practice at the EU level. Also, to enhance the visibility of such ways of farming at the local, national as well as European scale and to encourage the farmers to further develop their work in a sustainable path.
5.000 € as well as a diploma of recognition are awarded to the winning project every year.
How to apply?
Fill out the application form and send it back to the Award Coordinator before the application deadline (December 31):
Land and Soil Management Award
European Landowners' Organization
Rue de Trèves 67 – B-1040 Brussels
Email to [email protected]
The call for application is open every year until December 31.
The award is bestowed to the winner every year during the Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) Gala Dinner.
Download the application form 2015/2016 here. (for informaition)
Please note: the application should preferably be filled out in English. If the applicant chooses other language a well-structured English summary of the project should be enclosed.
This award has been launched in 2008 by the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO), under the auspices of the European Commission (DG Environment and the Joint Research Centre) and in association with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) of Vienna, Syngenta International AG, as well as the Centre for Soil and Environmental Sciences of the Ljubljana University. Since then, the award jury has selected outstanding achievements throughout the European Union in the field of sustainable soil and land management.
|Year||Project name||Location||Name of applicant|
|2014/2015||Soil Regeneration at West Woodhay Farms||UK||West Woodhay Farms|
|2013/2014||The Pontbren Project||Wales||Pontbren Farmers Group|
|2012/2013||Global approach for a sustainable agroecosystem||France||E.A.R.L. LEFEBVRE|
|2011/2012||Certified course “soil practitioner” for crop and grassland farmers||Austria||Bio Austria (group of farmers)|
|2010/2011||The Land Stewardship Network||Spain||Jordi Pietx|
|2009/2010||Little things mean a lot||Iceland||Erlendur Björnsson|
|2008/2009||Jistebnice Highlands||Czech Republic||Jana Maděrová|
For more information please contact:
+32 2 234 30 00