Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

New tenants at Normanton Farm lay the groundwork for going organic

New tenants at Normanton Farm lay the groundwork for going organic

A conventional arable farm at Normanton on Soar is undergoing conversion to an organic mixed beef, sheep and arable farm, having recently been let to ambitious new tenants on a 25-year farm business tenancy (FBT) through Loughborough-based land experts Mather Jamie.

Cedars Farm, which forms part of Loughborough’s historic Paget Estate, is a 287-acre holding on the Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire border. The farm has been let by the Estate’s owner, Joanna Herbert-Stepney, to Oliver and Charlotte Johnson, who had previously operated a lamb and beef farm on a Warwickshire County Council smallholding.

The couple – who are certified pasture-fed with Pasture for Life – were keen to branch into organic farming and had been on the lookout for a larger acreage to realise their ambition. Their minds were made up on Cedars Farm on the viewing day, when they met Miss Herbert-Stepney alongside Mather Jamie’s Associate Director, Amy Biddell. 

“Both Joanna and Amy were so helpful and down-to-earth that it decided everything for us,” said Oliver Johnson. “It’s great to see that they are personally in favour of organic farming and committed to moving with the times – healthier ways of farming are the way forward.

Cedars Farm boasts a beautiful, Georgian three-storey farmhouse comprising eight bedrooms, as well as nine additional farm buildings ranging from traditional red brick structures to barns and a grain store.

Located just five miles from Loughborough, the farm enjoys a range of excellent transport links: Junction 24 of the M1 and East Midlands Airport are both within seven miles of the holding, while Nottingham lies 13 miles away and Leicester and Derby are both 17 miles from the farm. 

Joanna Herbert-Stepney is a passionate advocate of organic farming and a longstanding supporter of the Soil Association.

She explained:

“I believe that organic farming works with the countryside, with the emphasis on boosting life, rather than on killing it. Life depends on healthy soil, full of millions of healthy, thriving, living organisms that digest organic matter, which Oliver and Charlotte will need to nurture – along with their animals – and keep in balance, whilst making a living too! I wish them all the luck in the world.

“Martin Ward and Amy Biddell at Mather Jamie have supported me wonderfully for over 34 years and now over half our farms are lovely, organic countryside.”

Amy Biddell said:

“We received a lot of interest in Cedars Farm and it was great to see such a high level of young farmers looking to convert to organic and take a step up the farming ladder to a larger holding.

“Oliver and Charlotte were extremely enthusiastic about making the move from pasture-fed to organic farming and their ideas for Cedars Farm were interesting and forward thinking. After visiting them at their previous small holding and seeing their hard work and passion for their farming business, we had no doubt that they would be the ideal tenants for Cedars Farm.

“It’s wonderful to welcome them onto the Paget Estate and we wish them well in their new farming venture.”

For further details of agricultural land opportunities across the East Midlands, please contact Amy Biddell on 01509 233433.

Established in 1991 and based in the East Midlands, Mather Jamie Chartered Surveyors is an independent mixed commercial and agricultural practice with a long-established and unrivalled reputation for delivering reliable advice and expertise on residential and commercial developments. For more information please telephone 01509 233433 or visit


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