Scottish Diversified Farm of the Year
Scottish Divesified Farm of the Year 2023 Results
J W Smith Byres Farm
Sheepdog School, Ardros Farms
Glenkiln Farm – WINNER
The AgriScot Scottish Diversified Farm of the Year is Sponsored by SAC Consulting
Scottish Diversified Fam of the Year Sponsored by SAC
Glenkiln Farm, Arran
Glenkiln, run by the Bone family, runs a herd of 120 Aberdeen Angus spring calving cows with another 40 followers and a flock of 600 blackface and cheviot ewes. Spring barley is grown which makes the farm self-sufficient with feed and straw. 110 acres of silage and haylage are grown for the livestock. Glenkiln initially diversified into horse liveries. Later, farm cottages were upgraded to accommodate long-term lets. Further housing was provided by converting redundant farm buildings into residential units and later new build houses were developed to accommodate local families. A hydroelectric scheme was built on Glenkiln in 2016 supplying most of the power to 400 homes in the village and the business is working on the pre-development of a 4 megawatt solar farm.
2022 Scottish Diversifed Farm of the Year
The AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year Awards is sponsored by SAC Consulting.
After months of deliberation and a host of impressive farms to choose from, the finalists for this year’s AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year award have now been announced.
Lucy and Robert Wilson, Wilson’s Farm and Kitchen
Wilson’s Farm and Kitchen in the Scottish Borders exemplifies the story of the countryside, from field to fork. Run by Lucy and Robert Wilson, a key component of their vision is knowledge sharing and education. Established as an alternative route to market for some of their homegrown produce, the couple and their team now host farm tours and food experiences that revolve around seasonal ingredients from their farm, garden, and other trusted local producers. Whether it’s the 25 Mile Roast, Curry Nights or a private event with chosen menu, all can be enjoyed in the renovated Old Stable or quirky ‘Wee Tin Bothies’, which are upcycled grain silos.
With guests increasingly seeking out sustainable and local food choices, Lucy and Robert provide them with delicious dishes and an understanding about the provenance of the menu’s ingredients, which they feel will be key to the future of farming on a wider scale. Alongside Wilson’s Farm and Kitchen this tenanted family farm has an arable enterprise and herd of pedigree Hereford cattle.
The Pollock Family, Ardross Farm
Ardross Farm is a tenanted mixed farm extending over 360 acres of beautiful coastal land in Fife. Contract farming an additional 800 acres and taking grass lets of 400 acres, the Pollock family rear Pasture for Life certified cattle and sheep, selling lamb, mutton and beef, as well as homegrown vegetables and honey, direct to the customer via their farm shop. They also sell wheat, barely, beans and oilseed rape on a commercial basis.
Set up in 2005, Ardross Farm has become a destination for locals, visitors and holiday makers alike, seeking quality homegrown produce. The connection between farm and consumer has been the keystone throughout the business’s growth, which now employs 18 locals, and customer feedback and insight continue to be at the heart of all decisions.
Committed to telling the positive stories of farming, Ardross Farm has a very active digital presence, working to promote the biodiversity, sustainability and traceability values of their enterprise, as well as agriculture in Scotland, via social media, e-newsletters and a brand-new website.
Ross Neilson, What’s Fresh
Park Farm is a modern dairy operation run by three generations of the Neilson family; milking 450 cows through eight Lely robots, in East Kilbride.
The family set up a new company called ‘What’s Fresh’ during the pandemic, to deliver fresh goods from independent producers to local customers. What’s Fresh continued to expand its offering and has recently invested in a new purpose-built milk bottling facility. The aim of What’s Fresh is to bottle their own quality, fresh milk and deliver to families and businesses.
The new milk deliveries boast ultra-low food miles and reusable one litre glass bottles to cut down on single-use plastics and reduce emissions.
In addition to sustainability, customers are demanding more in terms of the provenance and traceability of their food. What’s Fresh can be transparent about where their milk is coming from and how it is processed, given that it only travels a few metres from the farm to the new dairy.
The winner of the 2022 Scottish Diversified Farm of the Year will be announced at AgriScot on 16 November.
Newton Farm Announced Scottish Diversified Farm of the Year 2021
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 named the inaugural AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year Award, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland and supported by SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (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 an Agritourism offer running tours and visitor experiences.
They offer a range of seasonal tour activities, with a key focus on engaging visitors with whatever is happening that day on the farm.
On receiving the award Louise said “We are absolutely delighted. We felt we were in great company with the other finalists Carins Farm and Bain Farm dairy. It also means so much to our family to be recognised for all our hard work and we look forward to welcoming all our visitors to the farm this yaer to share in our epic farming life.”
The award assessors noted that Louise’s drive and commitment to the family farming ethos shines through in her approach to the business. She has minimised capital spending by making use of the free resources available to her to drive her business and engage with customers.
They wrote: “We were impressed that not only had they 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 faming businesses in Scotland.”