Diversification award goes to Newton Farm
Louise Nicoll was praised for her drive and commitment to the family farm (image by Craig Stephen for Go Rural).
A farm which offers visitors the chance to walk alpacas, feed the animals and groom a highland cow has received a new diversification award.
Newton Farm, in Angus, was given the inaugural AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year award, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland and supported by SAC Consulting - part of SRUC.
The award celebrates the achievements of Scottish farming and crofting businesses which have diversified and added value to their primary agricultural activities.
Newton of Fotheringham is a tenanted family farm with livestock and arable enterprises covering 220ha. In response to significant financial challenges, Graeme and Louise Nicoll expanded the business to include agritourism, running tours and visitor experiences.
They offer a range of seasonal activities with a key focus on engaging visitors with whatever is happening that day on the farm.
The award assessors noted that Louise’s drive and commitment to the family farming ethos shone through in her approach to the business and she had minimised capital spending by making use of the free resources available to drive her business and engage with customers.
They added: “We were impressed that not only had the Nicolls turned around their business finances, but also created an opportunity for their son Scott to consider succession within the family business.
“They have great plans for their collective future and have created a new way of working in the business which not only delivers financially but also creates connections with their local community.”
Sascha Grierson, from SAC Consulting, said: “Diversification and agritourism are becoming ever more important in Scottish agriculture and Graeme and Louise are excellent ambassadors, showing what can be achieved with innovative thinking and a practical approach. They have created a memorable opportunity to find out what daily life is like on a Scottish farm.”
Roddy McLean, Director of Agriculture at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “It was inspiring to see how resources on the farm have been harnessed to deliver unique visitor experiences. Congratulations to Newton Farm and we wish them continued success for the future.”
Ian Brydson, AgriScot Board member and one of the judges, said: “The standard of applicants was very high and made assessing the farms a real challenge. Each finalist has diversified to an extremely high standard and been totally committed to what they are trying to achieve.
“The resilience and creativity shown by these award recipients demonstrates what is possible and Louise is a worthy ambassador and role model for family farming businesses in Scotland.”
For more information on how diversification can drive additional income for farmers, crofters and rural businesses, visit our Diversification page.
Posted by SRUC on 09/02/2022