A major new award opening this autumn to British farmers aims to help new entrants develop successful agricultural businesses.
The innovation-focused award ‘New Entrant Farm Business of the Year’ is opening to farmers, crofters and smallholders, as part of a suite of opportunities being offered across Europe to help new entrants.
The award is offered by the European Commission-funded NEWBIE project, which stands for ‘New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture’.
It is being offered in eight European countries, and British winners will get a 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 (£440) 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.
‘Critical for the future’
Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland, leader of NEWBIE for the agri-science organisation 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 Simon Gadd, Chair of the NFU New Entrant Forum, said this is an opportunity to highlight the work done by new entrants in an “exciting and innovative” industry.
“This brings together the chance to share experiences and new concepts within farming to help make the industry fit for the future,” he said.
“I hope to see new plans created that can be implemented on how best to prepare the next generation of farmers to ensure they are ready for an exciting future in the industry.”
Applicants can be individuals or groups, and businesses should be established for between 2 and 10 years. To enter, prospective applicants need to register on the NEWBIE website. The deadline for applications is 15th November.