Jón Bjarnason, minister of fishing and agriculture, handed to the farmers in Hraun á Skaga and Grænhóli í Ölfusi the farming award of 2010. The award is as before a hand mace craft by Ívar Björnssona goldsmith and engraver. The minister said that the purpose of this award was mainly to bring attention to what is being well done in the farming industry.
Following is a text from the speech of Jón Bjarnason about both farms:
Hraun á Skaga
The name of this farm is well known to the people of this nation, because for 70 years weather forecasts have been reported from Hraun á Skaga in the radio. It is right to mention that a weather research station has been in operation there from the year 1942.
Hraun is the northernmost farm in the county of Skagafjörður and one of the outposts of the country in that sense. The land which belongs to the farm reaches down to sea and within this farmland there are many and good fishing lakes. The land is somewhat rocky – with rock formations and moorland also. Hraunsmúli, lava mulls – grassy peninsula reaches out to the sea, where eider ducs lay their eggs and photos were taken of a polar bear that made himself at home there last year. And there is also Skagartáarviti – lighthouse.
As the land is rough, it makes cultivation difficult, but resources are good, therefore those who live there need to be able to make use of what the land has to offer, as they have done.
In 1914 Steinn Sveinsson and Guðrún Kristmundsdóttir started farming at Hraun. Steinn did some fishing along with the farming; he went fishing for sharks with his neighbors for example. Later the couple decided to establish eider duck cast which consisted of only three pairs of birds.
In 1953 their son Rögnvaldur moved to the farm and has lived there along with his wife Guðlaug Jóhannsdóttir since. First and foremost Hraun was a sheep farm – cows for domestic use and eider duck cast along with other extra resources. Also Rögnvaldur and Guðlaug took care of meteorological observations for the Icelandic weather bureau, and still do.
One time there was a generation exchange, when Steinn their son started farming with them, along with his wife Merete Kristiansen Rabölle, who came from Denmark, moving to Iceland in 1991. At that time, other sons of Rögnvaldur and Guðlaug had taken care of the farm with their parents alongside other farm work. Steinn and his wife Merete have for the most part been responsible for the sheep farm, but Rögnvaldur and Guðlaug have put more emphasis on the eider duck cast, with good results.
Today, those who live at Hraun, are Steinn and Merete and their three children, also Rögnvaldur and Guðlaug and then Jóhann their son, who has built a house on the farmland, he assists at the farm when there at the most busy seasons but his job is to drive the school bus to Sauðárkrókur, along with other work he does outside the farm.
Farming over there is diverse; 400 sheep to feed during the winter, eider duck cast, which gives about 50 kilos of clean eiderdown, some trout fishing which is increasing in demand, the small fishing vessel Sæfari, which is owned by the father, his sons and their neighbors where they do their fishing with line trawling and lump fishing. Also Merete collects the mail 4 days a week to Sauðárkrókur and distributes it around the countryside.
Apart from Steinn and Jóhann, Rögnvaldur and Guðlaug have two other sons. Jón and his family living close to Blönduós. And then also Gunnar, who is living with his family at Löngumýri in Skagafjörður. During the peak season at Hraun, such as picking down and round up, the brothers frequently join with their families to Hraun, and then the Icelandic saying comes true that when many hands work together it eases the burden of one.
For an attractive Icelandic home, utilization of resources and good farming, Hraun á Skaga receives the farming prize of the year 2010.
The horse breeding farm at Grænhóll, Ölfus:
The couple Gunnar Arnarson and Kristbjörg Eyvindsdóttir have been practicing horsemanship from young age and soon made it as their livelihood. They trained their horses, presented them at breeding assessment and participated in tournaments with very good results.
Also, they practiced riding instructions, especially Kristbjörg who worked for many years as a riding instructor and attended to youth work within the horse club Fákur. Furthermore, they have been very active within the social activity of horse people. Gunnar and Kristbjörg started their own business exporting horses, and run an extensive and solid company in that field.
The horse breeding work of Gunnar and Kristbjörg goes back thirty years. They started with a small business and prepared a solid foundation for their company, namely building it on powerful breeding mares.
Alongside Gunnar and Kristbjörg, their children participate in running the business. Þórdís Erla who is completing her diploma in horsemanship and riding instruction from Hólar and Eyvindur Hrannar who is now studying economics in the University of Iceland but works at the farm in his spare time.
Their main workplace for the breeding farm at this time is Grænhóll in Ölfus. Their horse breeding itself is named by Auðsholtshjáleiga in Ölfus, which is a farmland, owned by them in cooperation with Eyvindir Hreggviðsson, the father of Kristbjörg and her siblings.
Gunnar and Kristbjörg became owners of Grænhóll in the year 2000. They have rebuilt all the outhouses at Grænhóll and at this time they have fine stables for about 50 training horses along with facilities at Auðsholtshjáleiga and facilities to feed horses staying outside on their farmland. They have built a good house at Grænhóll where they live, a great riding arena which was inaugurated in the end of 2007 and last fall they built a legalized competition track and pace track in full length by their home at Grænhóll as well as riding tracks throughout the farmland from materials which can be found around the farmland itself. Whether outside or inside, this is an orderly farm; it is exemplary and very clean and neat in every respect.
The horse breeding at Auðsholtshjáleiga has been established by the most successful formula; the careful choice of the main breeding mares and the use of the best possible stallions. The farm is constantly growing and the demands are always high, when it comes to quality.
There have been a great number of horses presented from this farm each year, and this farm has been nominated for honorary acknowledgement: Breeding farm of the year a total of 10 times and has received the prize more often than other farm, or a total of four times; in 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2008.
For efficiency and tidiness, breeding of the Icelandic horse and marketing: The couple Kristbjörg Eyvindsdóttir and Gunnar Arnarson, at Grænhóll in Ölfus receive the Farming award of 2010.