Friday 18 October 2019

If you’re a new farmer or you’ve diversified your farm, this competition is for you

Could you be Ireland’s best new entrant farmer? A brand new competition is now inviting entries from people who have recently taken up farming or diversified their farming business.

The NEWBIE New Entrant of the Year competition will reward the best new farming entrants or established farmers who have diversified in recent years. It’s being run by the NEWBIE network, a Europe-wide initiative that was set up to share farming insights with new entrants and to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the farming sector.

The aim of the NEWBIE project is to provide practical advice, encouragement and help to those who are starting out in a new agricultural endeavour, whether that is new entrants, successors or existing farmers who have diversified into a new area of business.

The NEWBIE New Entrant of the Year competition

Entry to the competition opens on October 16 and you must have entered the business or started a new initiative since 2013 to qualify. Entry is free and there will be one overall winner.

The award will recognise the most innovative and successful new entrant in Ireland. The overall winner will receive €500 funding towards training or an international farm visit. The NEWBIE Network will make a video about the winner’s farm to document their achievements, which can help to promote their farm and to generate publicity for their business.

The winner will also receive a plaque for display on their farm and get the opportunity to attend the NEWBIE conference with the other winners from across Europe in 2020.

“The competition is a great opportunity for someone who is getting started, either as a new entrant farmer or in a new business or enterprise,” explains Teagasc’s John Moriarty. “They will get an opportunity to show their strengths and some of them might be marketing their own produce. If they make the shortlist, they will have the benefit of meeting with the judges who, while they will be critical, will also give some very good feedback to the shortlisted candidates.

“Of course, the eventual winner will get a good deal of publicity from it. The opportunity to attend the conference in 2020 will also be a great chance to network, especially if you’re looking to develop new markets.”

Farmers can enter online and they’ll be asked to provide details of their business model and their achievements since entering the industry.

“There’s a questionnaire on the background of the farm, the steps they’ve gone through and some of their success factors. That will be shortlisted and followed up with a farm visit from a judging panel who will decide on the final winner.”

Supporting innovation in farming

The goal of the NEWBIE network is to increase innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in the European farming sector and to offer new farmers the tools they need to establish sustainable farms. As part of that goal, they are offering members access to 10 case studies from each of the nine European countries that have signed up to the Horizon 2020-funded project.

“The aim of the project is to provide information to potential new entrants from those who have travelled the road before and to highlight barriers faced and the methods that they used to overcome these barriers,” adds Mr Moriarty. “We’ve 10 case studies here in Ireland across a broad range of sectors but there are nine countries involved so there are 90 case studies involved in total and there will be videos for each of those case studies.”

Membership to the NEWBIE network is free and Irish farmers who sign up here will get access to regular updates, research, publications and case studies that can help them to achieve success in their own business. There will also be discussion circles that will look at common barriers facing new farmers across Europe, such as access to land, access to capital and availability of labour.

“It’s taking a European-wide look at it rather than just a national perspective. It’s not totally focused on traditional agriculture either so diversification is a factor in there as well. It’s a very broad project for new entrants and it caters for a wide audience.”

Are you a new entrant to farming who has been farming for two years or more? Check out the New Entrant of the Year competition to be in with the chance to win.

Find out more information on the NEWBIE network on the Teagasc website.

Sponsored by: Teagasc

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