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Our Team


David Grint

Chief Executive Officer

David joined both RASE and IfA as CEO in Autumn 2022. David has had a broad career across a variety of sectors.  For several years, he worked for large corporations, such as Bass, Coca-Cola, BBC, and Bupa covering strategy, marketing, brand and communications roles.  Following this, David spent a number of years in consultancy working with charities such as Sue Ryder, Nuffield Health and Self Management UK.
More recently, David was CEO at Housing Partners, an organisation which supports the social housing sector before moving on to work as a Partner in a fresh food wholesale business which operated across the UK providing dairy, meat & poultry, and fresh produce to care homes, schools and hospitality.


Emily Stillwell

Company Secretary

Emily joined the Society in 2012 and currently supports the Board of Trustees and Chief Executive in her capacity as Charity Secretary and Personal Assistant. Emily has enjoyed a broad career across a variety of sectors and is a member of the Chartered Governance Institute.


Alice Bell

Head of Technical Events

Alice is a marketing and event specialist with 20 years’ experience working on a broad spectrum of live events, predominantly in the agricultural sector for the Royal Agricultural Society of England. Having a BSc Honours degree in Domesticated Animal Science from Newcastle University along with a CRM certificate in marketing, Alice has a broad range of skills and knowledge to help visitors and exhibitors make the most of live events.  Alice's current focus is the delivery of the British Pig & Poultry Fair 2024 which will be moving to the NEC for its next edition on 15th & 16th May.


Natasha Smith


Tash joined the RASE team in 2023 as a communications assistant. She is responsible for sharing updates on RASE activities to members and further afield. She has an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security and joins the team with four years’ experience working in agricultural communications and PR.


Kate Rider

Event Manager

Kate is an events specialist with over 30 years’ experience working in the agricultural sector on both indoor and outdoor events. She has recently rejoined the RASE’s Technical Events team and is currently looking after operational delivery for the 2024 Pig & Poultry Fair.


RASE Trustees

Philip Gready


Philip is the Society’s Chairman and is also Savills (UK) executive director and head of the rural, energy and projects division which includes the rural sector, distressed asset management, energy, telecoms, client accounting and strategic advice businesses.

Philip is a highly experienced advisor to private and corporate landowners in the management of rural estates and portfolios. He is also heavily involved in the renewable energy sector and set up a joint venture "Infinergy" in 2003 with KOOP (a Dutch engineering group) to develop large scale wind farms.

Philip is also a trustee to a number of client trusts and companies.


Julie Butler

Julie Butler FCA qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1980 and founded the firm of Butler & Co in 1986. She is a farm and equine tax specialist and is also an authorised individual licensed by the ICAEW to carry out the reserved legal activity of non-contentious probate in England and Wales.

Julie is the author of Tax Planning for Farm and Land Diversification and Equine Tax Planning as well as co-author of Stanley: Taxation of Farmers and Landowners. Julie is also editor of Farm Tax Brief. Julie and her team provide consultancy services direct to the farming and equine industry and to other accountants, land agents and solicitors on farming diversification, bloodstock and all areas of the equine world.

Julie lectures on all areas of farm tax on a regular basis. She is a tax practitioner with emphasis on farming and equine concerns and was married to a farmer who sadly died in 2019.  Julie is also the proprietor of her own family farm so she understands the economic, logistical and legal problems facing farming and farming families.


Robert Drewett

Robert is a solicitor based in Bristol who has spent his professional life focussed on the property aspects of the rural economy, having been a partner initially in Osborne Clarke and then latterly in Womble Bond Dickinson. He is now a consultant with the firm. 


He joined the Board in 2023, having previously been a trustee of Innovation for Agriculture since its formation in 2013.  Having started stewarding at the Royal Bath & West Show in 1978 he served on the Board of the Royal Bath & West of England Society for many years before stepping down in 2022 after nearly 10 years as Chairman.  He is also a Trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth and trustee of a number of other charities based in the South West.


He is currently High Sheriff of Somerset and a Deputy Lieutenant of the county.


Michael Fiddes

Michael was educated at Oxford University where he studied Agricultural and Forest Sciences before joining Strutt and Parker where for nearly 40 years he was involved in the purchase, sale and valuation of farms estates and rural property, 25 as an equity Partner. He is now a Director of Fiddes & co and a consultant to Ceres Property.

Michael is a Trustee of a number of family Trusts, a director of a farming company in Hertfordshire as well as a Trustee of RASE and a Trustee of the Childwick Trust


Professor Jo Price

Jo is an Emeritus Professor at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), having served as Vice-Chancellor until 2021, the first woman to lead this small, specialist land based institution since its foundation 176 years ago.  Jo joined the RAU from the University of Bristol where she was Head of the Veterinary School. 

After qualifying, Jo spent a number of years working in veterinary practice before returning to academia. Her research, funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust (at the University of Sheffield, University College London, and the Royal Veterinary College), addressed the mechanisms by which bone regenerates and adapts to mechanical loading.  The goal being to develop treatment and prevention strategies for diseases affecting skeletal fragility such as human osteoporosis and equine fractures.

Jo’s current and previous non-executive appointments reflect her strong interest in academic leadership, the role of resilient agriculture in the climate change agenda and the scientific and educational contribution required from universities and include; Council member of the BBSRC; Council member of the Dyson Institute for Engineering and Technology; Council member of Cranfield University; Chair of the Board of Directors of the University College of Osteopathy; Trustee of Food and Farming Futures and Trustee of Bristol Zoological Society.


Nick Tapp

Nick is a Partner in the Craigmore Sustainables Group, and Chair of Craigmore Sustainables LLP. Craigmore manage ca. NZ$ 1bn of farms and forests in New Zealand. Nick joined Craigmore in 2013 to lead the Investor Relations team, after heading up the Agribusiness team for Bidwells. Nick has farming experience with a global perspective, having grown up in the remote West Highlands of Scotland, managed a large family arable and vegetable farming business in Kent, and invested in central European agriculture. He qualified as a Chartered Surveyor, is a Nuffield Farming Scholar, a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, and was a founding member of the British Association for Bio-fuels and Oils.


RASE Membership Council

Edward Barnston


Ed Barnston owns and manages Barnston Estate in Cheshire with a focus on the Triple Bottom Line philosophy for sustainable land stewardship.  He is a Nuffield Farming Scholar, a past winner of the Bledisloe Gold Medal Award for Landowners in England, an active CLA member, a committee member of Wildlife Farms & Estates and he also sits on various boards. In his spare time his passion is gardening and managing his bee hives often with mixed results.


Jonathan Armitage


Jonathan is a Senior Director and Head of Farming at Strutt & Parker. He is a highly experienced farming, rural business and property consultant and manager with over 30 years experience as a qualified chartered surveyor. He has a unique experience of leading strategic change in major farming businesses.

Jonathan has a degree in Agriculture from University of Reading and is a Professional Fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Management. He re-joined Strutt & Parker in 2021 to lead their team of farming consultants having spent 14 years running the farm consultancy in the East Midlands and for nine years after that leading the Agribusiness team at Bidwells.

Jonathan has spent 34 years advising farming and rural property businesses on behalf of private individuals, family trusts and investment funds. He has acquired a considerable breadth of knowledge in these roles which is key for clients as they enter a period of significant change for agricultural businesses.


Tim Brigstocke MBE

Runs Tim Brigstocke Associates, a farm livestock consultancy specialising in expert witness work. In addition he is involved in a whole host of other land based organisations, notably as Policy Director, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, Executive Director, Cattle Health Certification Standards and Treasurer for the RUMA Alliance, a cross industry initiative to promote the responsible use of medicines in agriculture.  He is also aTrustee and Immediate Past Chairman of the Institute of Agricultural Management.

A Trustee of both the Royal Society of Biology where he chairs its College of individual Elected Members and of the Society for the Environment. He is Chairman of the GB Cattle Health and Welfare Group and also chairs both the National Equine Forum and the Equine Sector Council for Health & Welfare.

Tim sits on a number of Government Scientific Advisory Committees and chairs its Farm Animal Genetic Resources Committee.

He previously held Senior Management positions within Unilever, the Governments Research Service and was CEO for Holstein UK and Ireland, the largest independent cattle breed society in the world.


Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE


Nick Green

Based in North Somerset, Nick is Farms Director for Alvis Brothers Ltd. He is responsible for the farming business which as well as producing milk for the company’s Lye Cross Farm cheddar cheese has arable, beef, pigs, contracting and property. Away from the business Nick is Chair of the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies (CARAS) and the Farmers Club Charitable Trust, Fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Management, Chartered Environmentalist, Nuffield Scholar and Trustee of FarmLink Education Ltd.


David Kinnersley

David is a Partner of Fisher German and Head of Agribusiness, providing farm consultancy and management services. He also specialises in anaerobic digestion (AD) and has been involved with over 90 AD projects across the UK from small scale to large gas to grid projects. David's role in the Agribusiness team includes farm business consultancy, subsidy and grant schemes, as well as farm management across the central Midlands. Helping clients to move to more sustainable farming systems and realising Natural Capital assets is a key part of the Fisher German Agribusiness team’s work.

Before joining Fisher German in 2008, David worked for a farm management firm and and then as an Agribusiness consultant for another firm. David graduated from Reading University with a degree in Agriculture, gaining an MBA in 2003.

He lives on the family farm near Stratford Upon Avon.


Christine Knipe

Christine Knipe FRAgS. A farmer’s daughter and farmer’s wife, Christine has been involved in agriculture all of her life. Recognised as a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, she is a trustee and former Chair of ASAO (Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations) the show industry’s national body, trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth, chair of the national forum Access to Farms, secretary of the North West Federation of Show Societies and a trustee with the Francis Scott Trust. Following a successful 18-year tenure, Christine recently stood down as CEO of the Westmorland Agricultural Society and continues to work as a rural event consultant. Christine regularly volunteers with various charities, committed to provide support where it is needed.


Dr Alastair Leake

Alastair Leake has a BSc in Horticultural Science and PhD in Organic & Integrated Farming Systems. He worked for 20 years for the Co-operative Farms, initially as a Production Manager in glasshouse salad crops specialising in IPM, then headed up the company’s ground-breaking farming systems research.

He is now head of GWCT’s 300 ha Allerton Research & Demonstration farm in Leicestershire, where intensive farming and exceptional levels of biodiversity co-exist. The LEAF Innovation farm is involved in high profile & innovative research projects focusing on Regenerative Agriculture.

 Alastair has served as a Board Member of a range of organisations involved in sustainable farming including co-founding the UK Soil Management Initiative and the ground-breaking Agricology Project.  

In 2023 Alastair received The Royal Agricultural Society’s National Agricultural Award given in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the advancement of agriculture in the United Kingdom.


Karen Mercer

Karen has been involved in agriculture all of her life. A farmers daughter who became a farm secretary and worked in the family business.  
She has held various senior positions, notably Director of Mercer Farming, The Regional Chairman of Coutts Landowners Group and is the Immediate Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers. She is now the Vice Chairman Elect for the Farmers Club 2024.

Karen gives of her time and expertise to various charities and is committed to making a difference where she can.


Dr Johnny Wake

Johnny Wake is the Managing Partner of Courteenhall Farms, a diverse rural estate business in Northamptonshire which he has grown substantially since taking over in 2013.

He has overseen the journey to a regenerative agriculture system, promoting soil health and biodiversity. He has also taken Courteenhall back into mixed farming, by building a broiler chicken farm, heated by ground source heat pumps, and returning Traditional Hereford cattle to the land after an absence of six decades.

Johnny has led Courteenhall into a large Countryside Stewardship Scheme; he co-founded the Tove Valley Cluster Farm group and sits on the CLA Policy Committee and Wildlife Farms & Estates England Committee. He has set up and chairs an educational charity at Courteenhall for local schools and has made it the first farming business to become a member of the Good Business Charter.