Stepping on to the farming ladder

Six new tenants have been given the opportunity to start their own rural businesses thanks to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Farms Estate.

With 13,400 hectares and 216 tenants, the estate is the largest of its kind in the country – providing one of the few opportunities for new tenants to take their first step on the farming ladder.

Barry and Jo Meningen have moved into New Farm, Earith, setting up a livery yard and schooling on 28ha of pasture. David and Liona Woricker moved down from Leeds to set up an educational centre with small animals on a smallholding at Soham. Claire Bourne also moved to Soham from Fordham, to relocate her carriage driving and schooling business. Martin Rix moved from Soham to take over a 142ha mixed farm at Ditch Farm, Burwell. In the north of the county, Sean Goodger and his family moved to Lincoln Farm, March, taking over 85ha of arable land. Finally Andrew Wagstaffe moved to Jubilee Farm in Chatteris, farming 46ha.

Andrew Wagstaffe has recently moved in to Jubilee Farm after improvement works were carried out to the house. Andrew, 26, has a degree in Agriculture from Writtle College and built up experience working on local farms before deciding to start out on his own.

Andrew says “I have always wanted to farm, but as I am not from a farming family getting on to the ladder would have been impossible if it wasn’t for the opportunities the County Farms Estate provides. I am settling in well and hope to progress on the estate as I build up my business”.

Rural Estate Manager John Macmillan added “The County Council is delighted to be able to give these new tenants a chance to build a career in the countryside and their experience, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial ability should ensure they succeed. The chance to develop a farming business is an increasingly rare opportunity and the competition for new tenancies on the Cambridgeshire Estate is always fierce and attracts very high quality applicants from around the country.”

This spring, after a national advertising campaign a further seven tenants have been selected for holdings available from October 2013. An additional four holdings are now available.

If you are interested in joining the estate, prospective tenants are invited to apply for four holdings available from October 2013. Rowells Farm, Warboys comprises 108ha, house and buildings, Church Farm, Quy has 1.095ha, house and building, Vector Farm, Elm comprises 6.2ha of land and a house and Lynchetts Farm, Gt Chishill has 78ha, house and building. A view day is being held on Tuesday 14th May and the deadline for applications is Tuesday 4th June.

For full details, please visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/property/estate/farms/farmstolet or join the Cambridgeshire County Farms Facebook group.