The year 2022 has been another challenging year for agriculture globally, with Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine adding more layers of uncertainty and risk to the world’s food security. It became evident that Russia is using the world’s food supply as a weapon of choice.  Since February 24, 2022, the first day of aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian farmer Kornelis “Kees” Huizinga, has been providing updates from the ground regarding the realities of war and its impact on Ukraine’s agriculture. An important piece of that message from Kees to fellow farmers, Parliament Leaders and anyone who would listen was to make a clear case for how this aggression was going to severely impact the world’s food security, impacting those most vulnerable first, especially in North Africa and Asia.

In recognition of Kees Huizinga’s unwavering focus on alerting the world to what is happening in Ukraine and how that war is impacting the worlds food security today and looking forward, the Global Farmer Network (GFN) is proud to recognize Kornelis “Kees” Huizinga as the 2022 GFN Kleckner Global Farm Leader Award recipient.

Kees Huizinga has farmed in Central Ukraine for 20 years, growing onions, carrots, wheat, barley, canola, sugar beet, corn, sunflowers, and navy beans. They also have a modern dairy farm.  As the war raged, Kees, several times with Global Farmer Network members at his side, has provided updates on Ukraine agriculture challenges on the ground and long-term, global implications to government and policy leaders across Europe – in person when possible – and through virtual interviews at every opportunity presented.

In Kees’ words, “My weapon in this war is to reach out to the world via media and tell them what is happening and why it matters to everyone.  Russia is using the world’s food supply as a weapon of war and the world’s food security is at risk.” In this video, Kees explains what receiving this award means to him.

The GFN Kleckner Global Farm Leader Award is given annually since 2007 and recognizes global farmers who exemplify strong leadership, vision and resolve in advancing the rights of all farmers to choose the technology and tools that will improve the quality, quantity and availability of agricultural products around the world. It was established to honor Dean Kleckner, Chairman Emeritus of the organization. Previous award recipients are:

Rosalie Ellasus, Philippines (2007)

Jeff Bidstrup, Australia (2008)

Jim McCarthy, Ireland (2009)

Gabriela Cruz, Portugal (2010)

Gilbert arap Bor, Kenya (2011)

Rajesh Kumar, India (2012)

V. Ravichandran, India (2013)

Ian Pigott, United Kingdom (2014)

Lydia Sasu, Ghana (2015)

Maria “Pilu” Giraudo, Argentina (2016)

Motlatsi Musi, South Africa (2017)

Gina Gutierrez, Mexico (2018)

Patience Koku, Nigeria (2019)

Ruramiso Mashumba (2020)

Annechien ten Have Mellema, Netherlands (2021)

Gabriel Carballal, Uruguay (2021)

Joanna Lidback, USA – Vermont (2021)

The Global Farmer Network is a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world who amplify the farmers’ voice in promoting trade, technology, sustainable farming, economic growth and food security. The GFN was established in 2000, first as Truth About Trade and Technology.