NEWBIE award to highlight Europe’s best new farmers

An innovation-focused award is opening this autumn to UK farmers, crofters and smallholders, as part of a range of opportunities across Europe to help new entrants develop successful businesses.

The award is offered by the European Commission-funded NEWBIE project (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture).

NEWBIE aims to build networks between newcomers, farm successors and their advisors across Europe, to increase the ability of farm successors and newcomers to agriculture to develop successful farm businesses.

The award is being offered in eight European countries with UK winners to get the chance to compare their farming innovations with Europe’s best new farmers.

Applicants will have to demonstrate how they have been able to overcome barriers such as access to land, labour, markets and profitability, and will be judged by a panel of agricultural industry experts.

Winners get €500 towards the cost of training or an international visit, as well as an award plaque, farm video, and opportunity to participate in a European new entrant conference with other award winners.

They will also be profiled in the national press and at major farming industry events.

Dr. Lee-Ann Sutherland, a research leader in the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in Aberdeen and leader of NEWBIE for the James Hutton Institute, said: “New entrants are critical to the future of UK farming. This award will help highlight and support creative new entrants as they develop their businesses.

We hope that winners will be inspired by their interactions with other innovative new entrants across Europe and share what they have learned.

UK steering group member James MacKessack-Leitch, of the Scottish Land Commission, added: “There are fantastic examples of trailblazing new entrant farm businesses out there already.

“As well as celebrating some of our newest and most innovative farm enterprises, the NEWBIE award will also help draw attention to the opportunities and benefits new entrants bring to the sector.

“At the Scottish Land Commission, we’re committed to removing barriers to entry, and are looking at a range of options to help bring more new entrants and fresh ideas into agriculture, such as encouraging existing farmers to consider joint ventures with new entrants.”

How to enter

Applicants can be individuals or groups, and businesses should be established for between two and 10 years.

To enter, prospective applicants need to register on the NEWBIE website and more information about the award is available on the NEWBIE project page. The deadline for applications is November 15.