A doctor who took over the running of his family’s 2,500-acre estate ten years ago has won the prestigious Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners.
Dr Johnny Wake, who is Managing Partner of Courteenhall Farms in South Northamptonshire and sits on the CLA Northamptonshire committee, was presented with the award at the Royal Windsor Estate.
The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) recognised six members of the agricultural community for their outstanding contributions to farming for food, people, the environment and profit at the annual RASE Awards Day.
This year, the Bledisloe Gold Medal, which is supported by Evelyn Partners, was awarded to Dr Wake in recognition of his management of Courteenhall, a diverse rural estate business which has grown substantially over the past decade.
Since taking over in 2013, Dr Wake has evolved Courteenhall from being a business based around arable farming and residential property to one on a much more diverse and sustainable footing.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, David Grint, CEO at RASE, said: “Bringing people together to celebrate the leaders in the industry and to be inspired by what can be achieved is what these awards are about.
“Each winner has contributed to the agricultural industry by pushing the boundaries of what is possible to farm in a way that is sustainable, viable and profitable, which enables others to prioritise the future while farming today.
“The Bledisloe Gold Medal is awarded to a landowner who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the successful land management and development of an agricultural estate in England.
“Dr Wake puts community, sustainability and legacy at the heart of every decision made, demonstrating an exceptional model of best practice and one which sets examples for estates across the whole of England.
“We are most grateful to the award supporters and also The Crown Estate’s Windsor team for hosting such an inspiring day to celebrate the best achievements in agriculture.”
Courteenhall Farm is a diversified rural business which sustainably farms beef and arable crops. It has a large and pioneering renewable energy portfolio and is leading the way on carbon in agriculture.
Dr Johnny Wake, whose family has been in South Northamptonshire since the 13th century and has been farming at Courteenhall for over 350 years, said: “It is a real honour to be awarded the Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners and it’s a testimony to the hard work of the whole team at Courteenhall.
“We’re a family-run business committed to farming as sustainably as possible, working with and protecting the environment, and pushing the boundaries so we can be at the vanguard of positive change.
“We work hard to build a wide variety of diverse and sustainable practices across our farming activities, from investing in cutting-edge technology, increasing biodiversity and our dedication to soil health to maximising our use of natural fertilisers and re-introducing traditional Hereford cattle and Rare Breed sheep to our land.
“We have a long and proud legacy to preserve, and we’re passionate about supporting the local community and protecting the environment for future generations.”
RASE is an independent charity dedicated to the application of science and technology to optimise agriculture and food resources to ensure a secure global future. It was granted its Royal Charter in 1840 by Queen Victoria.