Lynbreck Croft, a 150-acre mixed habitat croft enterprise located in the Cairngorms National Park, has been declared winner of the NEWBIE UK award for New Entrant Farm Business of the Year and will be presented with their award at the Royal Highland Show 2019.
The European Commission-funded NEWBIE project offered the award to new entrants in 8 European countries including the UK, as part of a suite of opportunities aiming to help new farmers, crofters and small-holders network and develop successful businesses.
Lynbreck Croft managers Lynn Cassells and Sandra Baer will receive €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 commented: “We are really delighted to have been given the Newbie award. We have worked so hard over the last few years to build the foundations of our new croft business which we see as being rooted in nature and rooted in our community.”
The Horned Beef Company in the Lake District and the Scottish Goat Meat Company in Banffshire were also recognized as exemplary innovative new entrants. All the shortlisted candidates demonstrated unique ability to overcome barriers in the early phases of their farming career.
Dr Adam Calo, a postdoctoral researcher with the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in Aberdeen and project coordinator of the NEWBIE project, said: “Having spoken to many new entrants across the UK, I see Lynbreck as an example of how to leverage the existing and potential biodiversity, not just for the long-term benefits, but as legitimate income generation during the initial phases of their agricultural business.”
National Farmers Union representatives from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales reviewed the shortlisted applications and selected the winner.
Andrew McCornick, NFUs president, commented: “It was a pleasure to be on the panel judging this award. To me, the winners had not a ‘thinking outside of the box’ approach but instead a ‘there is no box there’ vision, which showed an unconstrained desire to squeeze every ounce out of their business.”
Award winners from partnering European countries will be encouraged to share their experiences through international exchange opportunities provided by the NEWBIE project. For more information about NEWBIE, see www.newbie-academy.eu.
This was the inaugural year for the award and applications will be accepted again in autumn 2019. Photo credit: Sandra Angers-Blondin