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Joe, 21, now one of Cambridgeshire’s youngest farmers

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A 21-year-old man, described as an “entrepreneurial farmer and contractor”, has become the youngest entrant of 2022 to farming.

Joe Rabicano has taken on the tenancy of the Cambridgeshire County Council owned Whitehall Farm at Littleport.

He is one of seven new successful tenants to the county farms estate to add to the existing 160 tenant farmers.

A council spokesperson said: “In 2022, the county farms estate received more than 40 applications for new holdings.

“Following the selection process, seven new tenants have been successful.”

The spokesperson added: “The breadth of new tenants who have joined is a great example of this commitment- ranging from young entrepreneurs keen to make their impact to others who are building on their experience.

“The estate offers an entry point into farming for those who want to run their own enterprises and supports existing rural businesses to grow and expand.”

Here is a spotlight on the new tenants:

Ian Wilks – Car Dyke Farm, Landbeach

Ian has been involved in farming all his working life

The holding comprises 63.109 hectares (155.95 acres) of predominantly freely draining lime-rich loamy soils.

Car Dyke farmhouse is a detached, three-bedroom bungalow comprising kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms.

Ian has been involved in farming all his working life. He runs his own agronomy and farm management consultancy service in Essex and South Suffolk.

He now wants to farm in his own right.

Ian is enthusiastic about farming in a sustainable way and intends to farm Car Dyke Farm in a way that protects soil, water, and the existing environment, alongside creating new and varied wildlife habitats.

Offers were invited in the region of £26,000 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

The council, as landlord, says they are not bound to accept the highest or any offer.

Joshua Dennis – Fen Bridge Farm, Cottenham

Offers were invited in the region of £30,000 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

The holding comprises 75.332 hectares (186.15 acres) of predominantly freely draining slightly acid loamy soils.

Fen Bridge Farmhouse is a detached home comprising kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms.

The council promised it would be redecorated prior to a new tenant moving in

Offers were invited in the region of £30,000 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

The county council says it reserves the right to plant up to 0.2 hectares (0.5 acres) of woodland on the holding with no alteration in rent (a clause found in many tenancies)

The council also reserves the right to investigate and create permissive bridleways on the holding with no alteration in rent. The holding has land which is included in an environmental stewardship scheme

Joshua and his partner Kate are described as “two young and enthusiastic individuals with a keen interest in the agricultural industry.

“Coming from arable and livestock backgrounds, they have had careers on farms and around agriculture.

“They hope to make their mark on an ever-changing industry by farming for a future everyone can be proud of while establishing a sustainable farming system to protect the environment”.

Charles Deller – Fosters Farm, Whittlesford

“Charles is particularly interested in soil health and farmland ecology and will take steps to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions”.

The holding comprises 149.874 hectares (370.289 acres) of predominantly free draining loamy soils.

The farmhouse is a detached bungalow comprising of a kitchen diner, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms. The council, again, promised refurbishment prior to Mr Deller moving in.

The council says that “Charles has been working alongside his father since leaving university and is actively involved in all aspects of running a medium sized mixed farm which includes arable and livestock enterprises.

“He now wants to farm on his own and plans to establish an arable farm together with a small lambing unit.

“Charles is particularly interested in soil health and farmland ecology and will take steps to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions”.

Offers in the region of £51,000 for the annual rent of the holding were invited, fixed for the first three years.

Robert Fletcher – Halls Farm, Guyhirn

He plans to run Halls Farm as a mainly arable farm with an additional lambing enterprise.

Offers in the region of £46,000 were invited for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

Halls farmhouse is a detached dwelling comprising kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms. The home was refurbished prior to the new tenant moving in.

The holding comprises 119.33 hectares (294.87 acres) of predominantly silty clay and black soil.

Robert is an experienced farmer. He and his family previously rented a farm in Norfolk and have now moved to Halls Farm.

They plan to run Halls Farm as a mainly arable farm with an additional lambing enterprise.

“Robert is looking forward to work in cooperation with other tenants on the council’s wider estate,” said the spokesperson.

David Mwanaka – Limes Farm and Walnut Farm, Landbeach

David and his family have been running a farming business for the past 20 years, growing non-traditional African crops but on short term lettings which offer less security.

Limes Farm, Landbeach comprises 146.89ha (362.98 ac) of predominantly free draining loamy soils.

It comes with a three-bedroom farmhouse, yard, and various buildings.

The council invited offers in the region of £55,000 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

David and his family have been running a farming business for the past 20 years, growing non-traditional African crops but on short term lettings which offer less security.

The spokesperson said: “They are looking forward to getting actively involved in the local community, part of their vision is to reduce both carbon output and food waste.”

Kate Bull – Throckenholt Farm, Parson Drove

Kate has been involved in farming all her life and has developed a contracting business.

This holding comprises 99.997 hectares (247.13 acres) of predominantly loamy, clay soils of coastal flats with naturally high groundwater.

It comes with a detached bungalow comprising kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms.

Kate has been involved in farming all her life and has developed a contracting business. She is looking forward to building a sustainable farm at Throckenholt Farm. The farm will be used as an arable business with enhanced environmental features and use of regenerative farming.

Offers were invited in the region of £37,500 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

Joe Rabicano – Whitehall Farm, Littleport

Joe at 21 is the youngest entrant this year and is already a very entrepreneurial farmer and contractor in Norfolk.

The holding comprises 76.76 hectares (189.67 acres) of predominantly loamy and sandy soils with a peaty surface.

The farmhouse is a detached bungalow comprising kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and three bedrooms.

Joe at 21 is the youngest entrant this year and is already a very entrepreneurial farmer and contractor in Norfolk. Whitehall Farm is a step up the farming ladder for him where he will grow a range of arable crops.

Offers were invited in the region of £30,750 for the annual rent of the holding (to be fixed for the first three years).

BACKGROUND

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Farms Estate covers an area of about 33,000 acres across Cambridgeshire, providing rural business opportunities for more than 160 tenants.

Chair of Strategy and Resources at Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha said: “I am pleased we have welcomed another group of tenants to the County Farms estate in 2022.

“They will join other tenants who continue to work hard, evolve farming practices and work to promote the enhancement of biodiversity in the natural environment.”

Vice-chair, Cllr Elisa Meschini, added: “The new tenants are joining a community of 160 other tenants who make a difference in farming.

“I wish them luck in their new endeavours and can’t wait to watch their businesses flourish through 2023 and beyond.”

Leader of the Independent Group and a member of the Joint Administration leadership team, Cllr Tom Sanderson said: “I wish the new tenants a very warm welcome and hope they will be able to put their own stamp on the county farms estate.”

 

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