NI young farmer named as NEWBIE Award finalist

A Northern Ireland young farmer with a focus on increasing his milk from forage has made the final three of a UK-wide award for new entrants to agriculture.

Matthew Adams joins Aweside Farm (England), Teleri Fielden (Wales), and Tomnah’a Market Garden (Scotland) on the NEWBIE UK Award 2020 shortlist for New Entrant Farm Business of the Year.

All four have been selected for their success in demonstrating innovation in their entry into farming, their farm activities and business model.

Judges said the shortlisted young farmers represented some of the “best examples of new entrants across the whole of the UK”.

Share-farming

Adams, who is originally from Glarryford, Co. Antrim, is working as a profit-sharing farm manager across 400ac in Strangford, Co. Down.

The unit runs a herd of more than 200 dairy cows, with the management strategy to maximise the potential of the land by optimising stocking rates and improving milk yield from forage.

The European Commission-funded NEWBIE project (New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture) is offering the award to new entrants in eight European countries.

It is part of a suite of opportunities aiming to help new entrants’ network and develop successful businesses.

The award winner 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.

Other finalists include:

  • The team at Aweside Farm, in East Sussex, aim to make sure that none of their produce is wasted by building in as much value to crops and plants at different stages of their life, selling to mainly restaurants and florists;
  • Teleri Fielden has been building her farming experience across France and Wales; she farms livestock in Snowdonia National Park and has been selling lamb boxes locally, whilst maintaining an interest in improving biodiversity;
  • Based in Crieff, Perthshire, Tomnah’a Market Garden sell fruit, veg and flowers directly to customers through a community supported agriculture scheme as well as through online food hubs.

Dr. Lee-Ann Sutherland, a research leader in the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in Aberdeen and UK NEWBIE coordinator, said: “This year’s nominees demonstrate the importance of having a passion for your work, identifying markets and making the most of the resources you have available to you.

New entrants face a lot of hurdles, so we’re excited to showcase business models that demonstrate how barriers to land access and profitability can be overcome, while also pursuing sustainability objectives.

A panel of NEWBIE UK steering group members, representing all four UK nations, will select the winner. The winner will be announced in the coming weeks.

Award winners from partnering European countries will be encouraged to share their experiences through international exchange opportunities provided by the NEWBIE project.