Open Farm Sunday founder recognised in 2016 New Year Honours


Ian Pigott

Open Farm Sunday founder and farmer Ian Pigott has received an OBE in the 2016 New Year Honours List.

Mr Pigott, who farms at Harpenden, Hertfordshire, is also chairman of the Farming and Countryside Education charity and a Farmers Weekly columnist.

He was awarded the OBE for services to agricultural and countryside education.

Each year, Open Farm Sunday sees hundreds of farmers fling open their gates and welcome the public on to their farms for a single day in June.

See also: Open Farm Sunday breaks visitor attendance record

Since it was founded in 2006, more than 1000 farmers have participated in the initiative, which aims to encourage people to find out more about where their food comes from.

The 10th Open Farm Sunday in 2015 set a new attendance record, with more than 250,000 people visiting almost 400 farms on Sunday, 7 June.

The Farming and Education charity (Face) has a similar aim, working with schools and teachers to educate children and young people about food and farming.

Face encourages school visits to farms, and provides a range of educational resources and activities to complement school-based studies and outdoor learning.

Schoolchildren visiting a farm

©Glen Copus/Evening Standard/Rex/Shutterstock

Other awards include an MBE for Mary James, former director of NFU Cymru. She received the award services to agriculture in Wales.

Ms James, who retired from the organisation in September 2014, worked for NFU Cymru for 15 years before being appointed director in 2008.

Veteran agricultural journalist and BBC broadcaster Alan Stennett, of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, received a British Empire Medal (BEM).

The son of a Lincolnshire farmer, he received the award for services to the farming industry and broadcasting in the county.

Mr Stennett has presented the weekly Lincolnshire Farming programme on BBC Radio Lincolnshire since it was first broadcast 35 years ago.

John Varley, estate director of Clinton Devon Estates, was awarded an OBE for services to agriculture, the environment and the rural community.

Clinton Devon Estates owns and manages 10,000ha of land across the Heanton Estate in north Devon, and the Beer and Clinton Estates in east Devon.

As well as farming, it is involved in sustainable forestry, conservation management, deer management, commercial and residential property.

Defra chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens received a CBE for services to the veterinary profession and to animal welfare.

Nigel Gibbens ©Ian Hinchliffe/Rex Shutterstock

Nigel Gibbens ©Ian Hinchliffe/Rex Shutterstock

Gerald Lavery, formerly a senior finance director at the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland, also received a CBE.

Professor Willie Donachie, of the Moredun Research Institute, received am OBE for services to animal and veterinary biosciences.

Steve Ashby, a former policy adviser to Defra on international plant health issues, received an OBE for services to protecting plant health.

John Lockwood, chairman of Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, received an MBE for services to agriculture in Lincolnshire.

Canon Keith Ineson, agricultural chaplain and co-ordinator of the Cheshire Farm Community Network, received a BEM for services to the Farming Community in Cheshire.

Anthony Frederick Burgess, chairman of Harper Adams University development trust, received an MBE for services to higher education governance and fundraising.

The full 2016 New Year’s Honours list can be seen on the Cabinet Office website.

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