A doctor turned farmer who took over the running of his family’s 2,500-acre estate has won the prestigious Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners.
Dr Johnny Wake, managing partner of Courteenhall Farms in Northamptonshire, 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.
This year, the Gold Medal 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 the estate from being a business based around arable farming and residential property to one on a more diverse and sustainable.
David Grint, CEO at RASE, said: “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, based in South Northamptonshire, 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's family has been in the area since the 13th century and has been farming at Courteenhall for over 350 years.
He said: “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.
“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.”