Angus farm wins diversification award for agritourism efforts

In response to major financial challenges, the Nicolls expanded their business to include agritourism
In response to major financial challenges, the Nicolls expanded their business to include agritourism

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, located in Angus, has been given the inaugural AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year award, which celebrates the achievements of Scottish farming.

The award highlights those farming and crofting businesses which have diversified and added value to their primary agricultural activities.

A tenanted family farm run by Graeme and Louise Nicoll, Newton Farm includes livestock and arable enterprises covering 220 hectares.

In response to significant financial challenges, they expanded their business to include agritourism, running tours and visitor experiences.

The Nicolls 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.

They applauded her for minimising capital spending by making use of the free resources available to drive her business and engage with customers.

The award judges said: "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 were becoming 'ever more important' in Scottish agriculture.

"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.”

The inaugural AgriScot Diversified Farm of the Year award was sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland and supported and facilitated by SAC Consulting.

The award was open to any farming businesses in Scotland able to demonstrate excellence in a diversified, farm-based, enterprise.