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Bedfordia Group History

1939
  • Mr C.V.  Ibbett purchases his first farm; Village Farm, Milton Ernest
  • Started farming Village Farm
  • Additional land purchased adjoining Milton Glebe
1940
  • Gravel extraction commenced at Village Farm to supply Thurleigh and Twinwoods airfields
1941
  • Mr Ibbett formed a partnership with  Colin McKie and commenced trading as Ibbett and McKie.
  • Due to the War Agricultural Committee they were given the opportunity to farm as tenants at The Grange, Milton Ernest; Hollow Farm, Milton Ernest; Top Farm, Ravensdon and Church Farm, Turvey
1942
  • Dairy herd registered with breed name ‘Bedfordia’
1946
  • Parsons Barns, Felmersham purchased
1947
  • Purchased Mill Farm and The Gables, Milton Ernest
1950
  • Now farming circa 750 acres, milking 150 cows, 100 breeding sheep and followers
1956
  • Clifton Ibbett, son of CVI started farming on his own account. Taking on a tenanted farm at Wyboston. Main production was pigs, producing 60 heavy bacon hogs a week on contract for Walls Bacon
1958
  • Bedfordia Farms Ltd was incorporated on the 13th June
1962
  • Arnoe Farm, Sharnbrook and Kempston Bury purchased
1970
  • Gravel extraction commenced at Radwell
  • Highfields and Little Highfields Farm, Ravensden purchased
1972
  • Bedfordia Farm Equipment started trading as the local John Deere dealer for North Bedfordshire
1980
  • 150 sow pig unit acquired at Maulden, Bedfordshire
1983
  • John Ibbett, son of Clifton Ibbett joins Bedfordia as Farms Manager after gaining an HND in Agricultural Marketing and Business Administration at Harper Adams Agricultural College
1986
  • Purchased 1400 acre Knotting Green Farm
1987
  • Grange Farm, Oakley sold for the development of 27 houses
1998
  • 200 acres  and 100 cows purchased at Milton House Farm, Milton Ernest, which also became Bedfordia Groups headquarters
  • Bedfordia dairy herd of 100 cattle became registered with the Friesian Holstein Society
1989
  • John Ibbett appointed Director of Bedfordia Farms
  • Village Farm, Milton Ernest was sold for housing
  • 24,000 tonne state of the art grain store completed at Milton House Farm, this remains one of the largest farm stores in the UK
1990
  • 650 acres acquired at Manor Farm, Knotting
  • 200 acres acquired at Castle Farm, Bletsoe
1991
  • 450 acres at Rutters Farm, Thurleigh taken on a long term FBT
  • Dairy Unit expanded to 350 cows and moved to New Farm, Radwell
  • The estate office was built in place of the old dairy at Milton House Farm
  • Bedfordia Farms took on a long term FBT at Rutters Farm
1992
  • 600 acres acquired at Twinwoods Farm
  • Bedfordia Farm Equipment sold
1993
  • Bedfordia pig production averaging 24 pigs/sow/year exceeding the national average
1995
  • John Ibbett appointed CEO of Bedfordia Group
  • Bedfordia Farms became first UK farm to be accredited UKAS laboratory Quality standards (highest in UK)
1997
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £104/ tonne (year average)
1998
  • Entered Malting Barley trading market. Sold grain direct to outlets in the UK and Europe. Unfortunately an unexpected crash (50% drop in prices) left the business exposed and Bedfordia withdrew from the market
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £87/ tonne (year average)
1999
  • Became a registered futures store
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £86/ tonne (year average)
2000
  • Internal pig breeding herd began from Cotswold Stock, breeding own gilts
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £75/ tonne (year average)
2001
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £86/ tonne (year average)
2002
  • Bedfordia Farms appointed Andrew Needham as Non-family Managing Director; John Ibbett appointed Chairman
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £78/ tonne (year average)
  • The dairy unit was closed and the 300 dairy cows sold
  • Andrew Needham visited Germany on a feasibility study of anaerobic digestion (AD), leading to the formation of BIOGEN
2003
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £92/ tonne (year average)
2004
  • Purchased 210 acres of Outfields Farm, Ravensden as well as 2 houses
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £84/ tonne (year average)
2005
  • Twinwoods 4,800 place pig finishing unit completed
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £74/ tonne (year average)
2006
  • Ian Smith joined as Farms Managing Director
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £92/ tonne (year average)
  • First 500 horsepower tractor arrived at the farm (John Deere 9620 articulated tractor)
  • AD Plant completed, leading to the formation of BIOGEN, which Andrew Needham left to manage
  • Joined Entry Level Scheme (ELS) across the whole farm
2007
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £176/ tonne (year average)
  • 12,000 tonne Storage agreement with Wellgrain Ltd commenced
2008
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £144/ tonne (year average)
2009
  • Development completed at Arnoe Farm (pig breeding unit). Housing developed for 500 sows as well as a new farrowing unit.
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £115/ tonne (year average)
  • First Open Farm Sunday held on the farm
2010
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £164/ tonne (year average)
  • Joined Higher Level Scheme (HLS)
  • Development completed at Highfields Farm (pig breeding unit)
2011
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £168/ tonne (year average)
  • Work completed at both Arnoe Farm and Highfields Farm
  • Open Farm Sunday held for the second time with 1,200 visitors attending
  • Bedfordia Farms Ltd reports its first £1million profit year
2012
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £220/ tonne (year average)
2013
  • Land taken on at Colworth (750aces) on a Farm Business Tenancy (FBT) with Unilever
  • Open Farm Sunday held for the third time, attended by 2,500 visitors
  • UK Ex Farm Milling Wheat price: £164/ tonne (year average)
2013/14
  • 150KVA Solar PV put on the roof of both Highfields Farm and Arnoe Farm pig units
2014
  • Additional land purchased near Milton Ernest, 73 acres arable and 23 acres of pasture
  • Dry sow extension at Highfields Farm
  • Bedfordia Farms launches it’s own website and joins twitter