Scottish farmers win national New Entrants award

Andrew and Aileen Marchant at British Farming Awards
Norette Ferns

Scottish farmers Andrew and Aileen Marchant scooped a top prize at the recent British Farming Awards

The husband and wife team who took on Clonhie Farm in Dumfries and Galloway won the New Entrants: Against All Odds award at the national awards. 

With neither of them from family farming backgrounds, Andrew gained a degree in agriculture and worked up to a farm manager role on a dairy and beef unit, while Aileen worked as a secondary school teacher in the years before they took on the tenancy.

Thereafter, the focus has been to grow the business, which, run over 300 ha (750 acres), now comprises 1,000 ewes, 30 cows and 150 hinds.

Andrew says:

"We started with sheep to turn cash over more quickly while Aileen continued her job in teaching, which allowed us to grow the business rapidly as we could live on Aileen’s wage and reinvest everything else into the business.

"Alongside the growing flock, we took in cattle for the winter and some summer grazers to best utilise the farm and increase income."

The judges said about Andrew and Aileen:

"Andrew and Aileen have created a sound business model, demonstrating a clear consideration of various options for the different enterprises on the farm and an overall progressive approach with clear vision for the future business. A sheer credit to the new blood coming into the agricultural industry."

On winning, Andrew and Aileen said:

"It is absolutely amazing to have won the award and we are proper proud. . . Farming is something we do because we love it, but we wouldn’t be where we are without the help and support of those we love."

Visit the British Farming Awards website to find out more about Andrew and Aileen's journey as new entrants.

More than 700 farmers and industry professionals attended the event, which celebrated the innovation and achievements of British farmers across the agricultural industry.

The Goldie Family from Craighead Farm in East Ayrshire took home the Silver prize in the Diversification Innovation (Small) awar category for their Craighead Nursery School enterprise. 

Visit the British Farming Awards website to see a full list of winners.