THREE groundbreaking livestock businesses have been shortlisted for the New Entrant Farm Business of the Year.

Lynbreck Croft in the Cairngorms, the Scottish Goat Meat Company in Banffshire, and the Horned Beef Company in the Lake District, have been selected as finalists having demonstrated the ability to overcome barriers in the early phases of their farming career.

The award, organised by the 'New Entrant netWork: Business models for Innovation, entrepreneurship and resilience in European agriculture' – better known as the NEWBIE project – offers the overall winner €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.

Simon Gadd, chairman of the ENFU's Next Generation Forum and member of the project’s national steering group, said: “The high calibre of the applicants makes the job of choosing a winner very difficult.

“All have overcome key barriers for new entrants in different ways, but all know their markets and had a vision for the future taking advantage of their locality. Each communicates their message through social media and websites, clearly and engaging in promoting their product.”

The award was offered this autumn to farmers, crofters and small-holders across the UK. The European Commission-funded NEWBIE project is offering the award to new entrants in eight European countries, as part of a suite of opportunities aiming to help new entrants network and develop successful businesses.

Dr Lee-Ann Sutherland, a research leader in the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group in Aberdeen, added: “Each farm shortlisted represents a stellar example of how new entrants innovate to deal with the common hurdles of starting a new farm business. These three farms show a unique approach to the daunting tasks of gaining access to land, markets, and capital that most new entrants endure.”

National Farmers Union representatives from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will select the winner. The award will be announced in early May.