A former doctor now working in agriculture says he is committed to building a bridge between farming, health and education.
Johnny Wake is managing partner of the 690ha Courteenhall Estate in Northamptonshire. He says he is on a mission to secure a sustainable future for the business for generations to follow – and for the estate to be carbon neutral by 2030, if not before.
The farm was previously purely arable with a rotation of wheat and oilseed rape. But the rotation has been widened over the past decade and the land is being farmed regeneratively in new and innovative ways.
Dr Wake said: “The farming industry has an important role to play in mitigating climate change with nature-based solutions such as more sustainable soil and water management, increased biodiversity and greater energy efficiency.
“We believe that farming alongside nature is crucial which is why we entered into the Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement to protect and enhance our natural environment, increase biodiversity, improve habitats, water and air quality.
Last month Dr Wake won the prestigious Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners from the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) for his outstanding contribution to farming for food, people, the environment and profit.
The estate has now been shortlisted for the Farming Environment Award in this year’s Northamptonshire Food & Drinks Awards. The category is sponsored by the Weetabix Growers Group and Courteenhall is one of six finalists.
The award is designed to recognise farmers who have taken demonstrable action to reduce the environmental impact of growing wheat through carbon footprint reduction, promoting wildlife or regenerative agriculture.
Dr Wake said: “We’re delighted to have been selected as a finalist for the Farming Environment Award. We’re a family-run business and our team work hard to build a wide variety of diverse and sustainable practices across our farming activities.”
The award winner will be announced on 1 November.