Norfolk County Council have opened applications for one of six tenancies on just under 760 acres of land in total. The deadline for applications is February 2022, and those applicants whose plans involve environmental enhancement or diversification ideas could be advantaged. Additionally, Norfolk County Council have stipulated that one of the six plots should be used for a care farm, helping disabled and vulnerable people in the local community. Applicants must have a plan which demonstrates how the land will be utilised to increase its value, as well as meet local needs and the demand of customers.

The tenancies are intended to help attract new entrants to the farming market and provide an opportunity to get a foot on the farming ladder. Norfolk County Council are holding compulsory training days for applicants in January, giving them all the information and training needed to assist new entrants. Greg Peck, cabinet member for Commercial Services and Asset Management at Norfolk County Council said that “farming is a key part of Norfolk’s economy, and we want to play our part in strengthening the sector locally. Our county farms provide a unique entry point for new tenants in a highly competitive market.”

In 2020, the TIFF (Total Income from Farming) is said to have fallen £768 million to £4119 million, a decrease of 15.7% from 2019 according to DEFRA. Multiple factors are believed to have caused this result, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which interrupted supply chains, as well as the unseasonable weather experienced throughout the UK during the 2019-2020 cropping season. The UK experienced some of the wettest winter conditions on record, and one of the hottest and driest springs ever encountered, which had a major impact on crop yield.

However, the news is not totally bleak, as whilst in general cereals and industrial crops struggled and depreciated in output and value, horticultural crops such as onions and potatoes had a strong 2019-2020. Norfolk is known to be the heart of the UK’s onion, beet, potato, and bulb growing areas, demonstrating the need for applicants to seriously consider a horticultural farming approach. Additionally, livestock farming held it’s profit steady, often subsidising the losses in cereal crops for farmers.

Farming in Britain was recently placed on the world’s stage with the Amazon Prime show ‘Clarkson’s Farm’, which saw the eponymous ex-Top Gear presenter start the process of running his own farm after the retirement of his previous farmer. The series follows Clarkson as he plants his first year of crops within his 1000-acre farm in the Cotswolds, and demonstrates the realities of being a farmer in 2020. Clarkson brought to a new audience the hardship of being a farmer in the UK, and the labour involved in running a farm. However, the show has also presented farming as an attractive prospect for many younger people who may consider a career in farming as a result of the programme.

Based in Norfolk, Nicholson Machinery is a family run business with a proud heritage dating back almost 50 years. Working closely with farmers, horticulturalists and pack house operators, Nicholson translates the needs of our customers into the design and manufacture of a full range of onion farming and processing equipment. With the majority of business currently from overseas markets, the investment into the local farming economy presents an exciting opportunity to expand our UK customer base and support the growth of the sector on our doorstep.

Our industry leading onion farming equipment combined with our strategic location in the UK’s onion, beet and potato farming district make Nicholson the ideal machinery partner for local growers. Contact our team today for more information on our bespoke machinery.