Dear winners of Best Sowers 2020,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am truly delighted to welcome the best farmers to today’s celebration of farming excellence. And I am also glad to welcome everyone from Latvia’s countryside.
Best Sower is the highest accolade for Latvian farmers. It is the recognition of excellent and successful farm management, biological farming, key innovations and collaborations, way to shine spotlight on young farmers and farmstead owners.
Diversity of Latvian countryside is a value in itself. We need to nurture it and keep it growing. We need diversity in the way we manage and in urban landscape. There is a distinct difference between landscapes of Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale, but all of them are still part of our dear Latvia. Our country fields are special. They are a thing of a beauty, I think. A beauty we can enjoy thanks to care and loving of our farmers. It is a value we need to preserve for future generations.
Our farmers are achieving higher yields by accessing new knowledge, efficient management of fields and farms, while also putting local products on the tables of Latvian households. As Mr Minister just said, grain yield records have fallen this year again. We often take it for granted, and only notice it at times of crisis. And this, of course, is an unusual year in this regard. This year showed that farming sector is one of the key sectors of our economy and country. On the other hand, we must also put sufficient efforts in preventing soil contamination, land degradation, and take care of the health of our environment because, as I already mentioned, future generations will need it too.
Balanced farming or land management is the future of Latvian countryside, a blooming living environment for our people and sustainable rural communities.
It is my honour today to present this lifetime achievement award to a great farming expert, Antons Ruža.
He has devoted 50 years of his professional life to agriculture. Research, in particular. He has authored hundreds of articles, attended numerous conferences. He has always been an advocate of best farming practices, shown special interest in higher productivity that enabled Latvia compete more successfully with the rest of Europe. But more importantly, he has always been interested in ensuring that our farmers give us products that we can all be proud about. And science plays a significant role in that. Evidence-based farming leads to good farming. The kind of farming we want to see today. The kind of farming that gives future generations firm footing no matter where they will live, no matter how food imports will work. And we will also have beautiful, well-managed and blooming fields.
Mr Ruža, thank you for devoting your life to making Latvian fields prettier, cleaner and more fertile!