A Soham farmer has been named the best tenant farmer in Cambridgeshire.
John Barnett, who has run Pantile Farm for the past 15 years, was presented with the Coronation Bowl for the best county farm after he impressed judges with his enthusiasm for farming, diversified enterprises and passion for wildlife and the environment.
The competition for farms which form part of the 33,000 acre Cambridgeshire estate is held every two years, and this year’s contest was judged last summer by Edward Tabner, of Cheffins, and William Haire, from the East of England Agricultural Society.
John, who hails originally from Burwell, started his farming career in the village with 50 acres of bare land. His father Adrian, who is now retired, preceded him at Pantile Farm, where John has farmed for the past 15 years.
He is now custodian of around 400 acres where he grows potatoes, peas, winter wheat and sugar beet as well as keeping 40 head of beef cattle which he believes encourages wild birds and helps the farmland environment he is passionate about.
John lives with his partner Tara Young and their two sons Alfie, three, and Ollie, one, who are already following the family tradition and have their own electric tractors.
And with a young family to care for John has an eye on the future and admits that with Brexit has come a degree of uncertainty. With that in mind he has taken the opportunity to diversify using part of the farm to establish a do-it-yourself livery business for horse owners.