Welsh dairy farmer and Farmers Guardian columnist Abi Reader has been made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
The third generation farmer, who manages a herd of 180 Holstein Friesian and Dairy Shorthorns in the Vale of Glamorgan with her father and uncle, was honoured for her services to farming.
The 37-year-old, who founded Cows on Tour, an organisation which educates children and young people about food and farming, said she was surprised to receive the honour.
“It was totally unexpected, especially as the news broke with a call from home about the letter while I was in the middle of our Cows on Tour roadshow,” she said.
“It has blown my mind a bit. I am surrounded by inspirational people in my local community and beyond and I am committed to making sure I live up to this daunting title.”
She has been touring Wales with Cows on Tour to educate children and young people about farming in a bid to help people reconnect with and learn more about where their food comes from.
Last month she organised a trek to the summit of Snowdon carrying a lifesize model cow and other farmyard animals to raise money for farming charities RABI and the DPJ Foundation. She was joined by a team of rural organisations including FG.
As well as being vice chairwoman of NFU Cymru’s dairy board, Ms Reader is also Glamorgan NFU Cymru county chairwoman, part of the Welsh Dairy Farm Innovations Group, the Wales TB Eradication Board, Cattle Vaccination Board, and an AHDB Dairy Ambassador. She also hosts an Open Farm Sunday event among many other commitments and writes for FG’s Farming Matters opinion column.
John Mercer, NFU Cymru director, said: “ This is a fantastic achievement for someone who works incredibly hard to promote farming. Abi is extremely passionate about the farming industry and is a regular on news bulletins and television programs where she champions the work farmers do on a daily basis.
“Abi is heavily involved with the fantastic Cows on Tour initiative and works tirelessly to ensure the next generation are fully aware of where their food comes from. She is a true ambassador of the farming industry."
Robert ’Robin’ Gourlay was honoured for services to the Scottish Food and Drink Industry.
He has worked for many years to get more local, Scottish products into the public sector. He became well known know for pioneering work when he worked for East Ayrshire Council as their head of catering.
Before he took charge, the average distance food travelled to East Ayrshire schools was 400 miles – and he got it down to 30 miles with 70 per cent being locally sourced and tonnes of CO2 being saved.
Mr Gourlay was later seconded to the Scottish Government to look at national procurement, taking it from 37 per cent Scottish ingredients to 50 per cent, with red meat up nearer 90-100 per cent.
Two Nuffield scholars were also honoured. Food nutritionist Barbara Bray received an MBE and John Martin received a BEM for services to agriculture in Northern Ireland and his dedication to the development of young farmers and the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.
Alfred Evans, of Beulah, Llanwrtyd Wells, was made an MBE for his services to farming heritage. He has taught generations of future farmers how to shear sheep and lay hedges.
Professor Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser to Defra, was knighted. During his seven years at Defra he has led on the UK’s strategy for eradicating bovine TB.