Soil and Land Management Award



For good agriculture and environmental conditions  


Soil Award 20192020


The Award

 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.

The prize rewards land use and soil management practices mitigating soil threats with the aim of 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 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 farmers to further develop their work in a sustainable path.
5 000 € is awarded to the winning project every year. The Jury can also award a Diploma of Recognition.


How to apply:

The call for application is open, you need to send the filled out application form latest on December 31, 2019.
The award is bestowed to the winner every year during the Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) Gala Dinner.
Please note: the application form should preferably be filled out in English. If the application chooses another language a well-structured English summary of the project should be enclosed. 

To download the application form click here



This award was 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.


Previous Prize winners

Year Project name Location Name of applicant
2018/2019 GROW Observatory UK GROW Observatory
  Special Recognition for Breakthrough in Soil Technology for Precision Nutrient Management by near-infrared spectroscopy Germany John Deere GmbH&Co. KG


Preservation of soil health and fertility by implementing new concepts of land management Bulgaria Galina Dimitrova Peycheva-Miteva
  Diploma of Recognition: Holistic Management Regenerating Agricultural Soils Zimbabwe Africa Centre for Holistic Management
2016/2017 Healthy Soil for Healthy Food Austria 59 Austrian farmers, SPAR and WWF Austria
Creating new land and soil management opportunities under Mediterranean soil and climatic limitations

Portalimpex, Lda

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


Soil award 201819




GROW Observatory” project: Unanimous winner of the Soil Award 2018/19

The Land and Soil Management Award rewards land use and soil management practices mitigating soil threats such as degradation, erosion, reduction of organic matter content, contamination diffusion, 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, encourages new concepts of land and soil protection and their implementation in land management, as well as enhancing / or: and also enhancesawareness on land and soil functions.

Under the auspices of the European Commission (DG Environment and the Joint Research Centre), in association with BOKU and Ljubljana Universities and Syngenta, the ELO awarded the prize to  "GROW Observatory”, a project submitted by theUK, but based on an EU project including thecooperation of 18 institutions in Austria, Italy, UK, Spain, Greece, Belgium and Hungary. The Jury, under the presidency of prof. Martin GERZABEK, ranked this project first not only thanksto its innovative concept of the citizen science approach, but also because it deals with soil moisture asbeing one of the most important production factors in agriculture. The data, mainly soil moisture data,are collected by a large number of farmers, and somakesthe project a highly innovative citizen science project and an educational project for the agricultural sector.Itfurther aims to demonstrate that a Citizens' Observatory can deliver widespread uptake, robust science, societal impact, and be sustainable.

In addition, the Jury awarded a special recognition for Breakthrough in Soil Technology to John Deere company for the “Precision Nutrient Management by near-infrared spectroscopy” project as a completely new technology for managing the nutrient cycle more sustainably and to improve the efficiency of the use of manure fertilizer. 


For additional information on the Land and Soil Management Award please consult our website:

For more information please contact the Award Coordinator:

Emmanuelle Mikosz
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Friends of the Countryside represents the custodians of European estates and the traditional industries, patrimony, and heritage in their stewardship. 


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