Fenland farmer follows in footsteps of father and grandfather to secure new tenancy

A THIRD generation tenant farmer has been welcomed to a Fenland farm after fighting off strong competition to take over the keys.

Matthew Murfitt, new tenant at Denver Farm, Littleport, is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were all tenants of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Farms Estate.

Matthew, 31, beat a host of other potential tenants to secure the tenancy on the farm which covers 81 hectares.

He demonstrated to the selection panel that he was capable of managing the holding through his previous agricultural experience along with a National Diploma in Agriculture.

Councillor John Reynolds, County Council Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, handed over the keys to Matthew and his fianc�, Zara Holland.

He said: “The county council is delighted to be able to give new tenants a chance to build a career and develop a farming business.

“Not only does this mean we can help provide jobs in our rural communities as well as encourage the continuation of farming but also gives the Council an extra stream of income to fund frontline services.”

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The Farms Estate, which is the largest of its kind in the country with 240 tenants working more than 13,500 hectares (30,000 acres) of land, is now over 100 years old. The estate help new tenants to take their first step on the farming ladder and the money raised also helps fund other frontline county council services.

Matthew is looking forward to taking the reins at Denver Farm, and will concentrate on growing potatoes, sugar beet and wheat.

Former tenant Colin Cater, who was also a contract crop sprayer during the summer, will be moving to Norfolk after 27 years on the estate.