The month of June saw two high profile Newbie events in the UK: The Start to Farm Conference and The Royal Highland Show.
Early June, Newbie UK put on the ‘Start to Farm’ Conference, an intensive one-day networking and training event in Newport Wales. The event was put on with the help of local farming advisory, mentoring, and matching service Farming Connect. The event feature keynote speakers, a lively networking event and three intensive workshops focusing on new entrant policy, access to finance and alternative entry models. There is a blog post summarizing the policy workshop that focused on hearing policy needs directly from workshop participants. A number of the sessions and keynotes are uploaded as videos to Youtube. We hope the workshop inspires similar events across the UK.
The Royal Highland Show
Later in June was the Royal Highland Show, a premier agricultural event in Scotland that attracts all comers from the First Minister to the local farmer. At the James Hutton Institute marquee, Newbie was on full display. We took the opportunity to have the National Farmer’s Union of Scotland president present the first Newbie Award Winner, Lynbreck Croft. The presentation, which included speeches from NFUS president Andrew McCornick and Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer of Lynbreck drew a lot of media attention. The BBC filmed the award ceremony, and a documentary television program interviewed the Newbie winners, seeking models to combat rural depopulation.
All in all, we engaged a diverse array of visitors who were curious about new entrant farmers. We invited a group of innovative new entrants from across Scotland we have met through the project to provide direct experience and knowledge to members of public. This was crucial when we received a couple of high-level visits from elected representatives and decision makers. Instead of hearing the Newbie team’s perspective, they were able to engage directly with Newbies who could share experiences of farming as a new entrant. It was a great opportunity to attract new Newbie members as well as hear opinions from the general public.