A NUMBER of agricultural stalwarts were recognised in this year's New Year Honours List, which celebrates outstanding achievements and contributions to British society.

Devonshire dairy farmer, Di Wastenage, who is vice chair of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF), became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to the UK dairy industry. Mrs Wastenage is an ambassador for women in farming and through her role as Patron of Women in Dairy, she showcases the importance of female roles and the exciting opportunities there are for women in the sector. She was also involved in creating the ambitious targets for reducing antibiotic usage within the dairy sector.

Commenting on the accolade, Mrs Wastenage said: “I am delighted to be awarded the MBE and I am proud to be representing the farming sector both locally and nationally especially during these challenging and dynamic times.

“Receiving this honour has come as a complete surprise and has ensured this tough year finishes on a very positive note.”

RABDF managing director Matt Knight added: “Di’s award is truly deserved. Her role as vice chair at RABDF is invaluable and she has been instrumental in informing and contributing to some important topics in the dairy sector. This is all on top of her day job managing the family farm with her husband.”

Other agricultural recipients included Belfast agricultural journalist and broadcaster Ian Harvey, who received an MBE for his services to agriculture and to charity in Northern Ireland.

Welsh farmer Kate Beavan – who welcomed Lambing Live to her farm in Gwent, Wales, in 2009 – also received an MBE for services to agriculture.

Jersey Milk Marketing Board on the Channel Island of Jersey, Andrew Le Gallais, received an MBE for services to the community and to dairy. Diana Smart, assistant show secretary to the Hertfordshire County Show, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to agriculture.

Orders of the British Empire (OBE) were awarded to Robert Peter Douglas Miller for his services to Wildlife Conservation in Scotland and Edinburgh-based Dr Heather Jane Bacon of Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, for her services to Veterinary Education, to Animal Welfare and to Charity in the UK and Abroad.

Figures from across the food and drinks industry were recognised, including former Tesco chief executive David Lewis who received a Knighthood, and Ocado chief executive Melanie Smith, who was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.