Dear Minister for Agriculture,
Dear friends of the forest,
Forests are a little bit different for each of us. I am not a forest professional, but I try to be in the forest when I can. And every time I am there, the forest is different. Every time it's like a new discovery for me. Sometimes it is inviting and reassuring, sometimes it is calming, but always it is friendly.
Here we are today, 20 years after the first Golden Cone Award, and, as I have heard many times in the speeches, in a completely different situation. The forest sector – the forest industry and wood processing – has undergone a huge transformation. It is completely different from what it was 20 or 30 years ago, and I am convinced that it will continue to develop. For that, I have to say a big thank you to all of you: forest owners, entrepreneurs, foresters, forest keepers and those who study forests.
I am convinced that, whatever the challenges we face, the forest is one of the fundamental values and mainstays of our country and nation. We will always be able to draw help and support from the forest to be able to continue to live and develop.
It is a great honour and a thrill for me today to say a big thank you to three people, each in their own way, for their lifetime contribution to the care and development of forests. You are true friends of the forest. You have given your best years to your industry. I am sure you will continue to do so, both with your advice and with your own active work. But I also know that whatever you have had to do in life, whatever the challenges, you have always found strength in your work, in your forest. For that, thank you all so much!
I think the greatest thanks can come from your own colleagues, friends, those who can appreciate your work. I have been given the simple function tonight of thanking you and presenting this award, but believe me, behind this award are all these people in this chamber and many people who have worked with you, who have supported you and who have been advised by you.
President Edgars Rinkēvičs presented the Award and the Certificate of appreciation for lifetime achievement to Mudrīte Daugaviete, senior researcher at the Latvian State Forest Research Institute ‘Silava’, Guntis Grandāns, former director of the ‘LVM Seeds and Plants’ division of JSC ‘Latvia's State Forests’, and Laimdota Straujuma, chairperson of the Council of the Latvian University of Life Sciences and Technologies, at the event honouring the winners of the annual forest industry award ‘Golden Cone 2023’.