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Supermarket grower doubles down

A root produce supplier has expanded its partnership with landed estates business Bradford Estates to let farmland to grow parsnips for the UK’s leading supermarket chains.

Huntapac, headquartered in Preston in Lancashire, originally took a commercial lease of buildings at Woodside Farm near Shifnal, just off the A41, as a regional base for its business operations on the Shropshire-Staffordshire borders and is now extending its footprint into farming within the historic estates.

The carrot and parsnips grower has taken a cropping licence within Bradford Farming’s sustainable arable rotation to make use of the high quality, irrigated land within the in-hand farm. With the increased acreage, Huntapac will increase its harvest in the West Midlands to build upon its growth as one of the largest root vegetable producers in the UK.

Trading since 1942, family business Huntapac grows root crops including Chantenay carrots on land from Scotland to Suffolk. Huntapac was attracted to Bradford Estates’ accessible location, equidistant between Telford and Wolverhampton, and proximity to other large farming businesses such as PDM, David Austin Roses and Shropshire Petals when looking to move its Shropshire operation last year.

Farm director Ben Madarasi said: “We are delighted to build upon our property partnership with Bradford Estates to move into farming alongside their regenerative in-hand business, Bradford Farming, as we appreciate their long-standing heritage and experience in agriculture as historic land managers. Moving to Bradford Estates has been very beneficial to our business, so extending our relationship from property into farming is strategically positive for our future growth.”

Bradford Estates asset management director Andrew Barrett has managed the commercial arrangements with Huntapac. He said: “We have enjoyed a great working relationship with Huntapac so we welcomed the opportunity to expand our partnership. They have a great business and will further increase the number of cropping licencees within our rotation encompassing potatoes, onions, poppies, lettuces and maize.

“As direct managers of both land and property, we can offer agricultural businesses a one-to-one relationship rather than having to negotiate through third parties, and as long-term owners, can be flexible to accommodate their needs with respect to both occupational buildings and farmland as they grow.”

More companies have recently taken Bradford Estates property leases as the landed estates business ramps up its circular economy drive of converting surplus agricultural buildings into an offering of flexible business units located along the M54, A5 and A41 between Wolverhampton and Telford.

Managing 12,000 acres, Bradford Estates stewards its assets with a responsibility to future generations. Bradford Estates’ 100 year plan is based upon a commitment to grow sustainably through land and property strategies such as regenerative farming and building repurposing.

Bradford Estates managing director Alexander Newport said: “Bradford Estates is pleased to work with an expanding range of farming businesses, in supplying property and farmland, as sustainable agriculture is a key part of our future plans. We plan to expand our water infrastructure to increase the area of irrigated farmland and bring more farming businesses onto our land.”

Pictured: Ben Madarasi of Huntapac (left) and Andrew Barrett of Bradford Estates