Veteran Co. Down agricultural journalist and broadcaster Ian Harvey is to be awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

The Saintfield man will become a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to Agriculture and to Charity in Northern Ireland.

He joins Belfast man William Brown who is on the list for his services to the Northern Ireland Food Economy.

Ian Harvey started working for the BBC part-time carrying out interviews for Ulster Farm – a half-hour agricultural programme which ran on Radio Ulster in a prime-time slot on Fridays – but retired as a senior producer and broadcaster 22 years later.

He currently writes for Northern Ireland farming newspaper Farm Week, however, his career has seen him report on agriculture as far afield as South America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

One notable venture included a stint in Poland and East Germany shortly after the Berlin Wall fell to explore the implications for international agri-food trade as part of a joint production for the BBC and RTÉ.

Aside from his day-job, Harvey was also recognised for his charity work having undertaken several rowing challenges for Fields of Life and BBC Children in Need with support from members of the YFCU.

Feats included a 400-mile solo endurance row across Lake Superior, a 212-mile course along rivers and canals from Enniskillen to Dublin for charity Fields of Life as well as crossing Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Speaking to AgriLand, Ian Harvey said: “It’s a true privilege to be recognised in this way – this award comes as a result of support and help from a lot of people in my lifetime and I must share that with all of them – especially with thanks to the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, which has supported many of my charity efforts.”

Other farming honours

The New Year Honours List 2021, published on Thursday, December 31, demonstrates the incredible efforts of hundreds of public sector and community workers throughout 2020 and beyond.

In a year that has truly tested the resolve and determination of those on the frontline, the New Year Honours List includes 1,239 recipients, recognised for their extraordinary contributions in all four nations of the United Kingdom.

Other agricultural recipients include RABDF vice-chairman and Women in Dairy patron Di Wastenage and Kate Beavan, who welcomed Lambing Live to her farm in Gwent, Wales, in 2009.

‘A reminder of the strength of human spirit’

Non-farming recipients include charity helpline housing adviser for Shelter Nadeem Khan who receives a BEM.

Unable to return to the UK because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he worked from his personal laptop from a rooftop in Lahore, Pakistan, delivering housing advice to over 500 people over three months via web chat to people over 5,000 miles away in the UK.

Included in the list are 123 health and social care workers – from British Red Cross Ambulance Crew to care home managers – who all played a part in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founder and chief executive of Pembrokeshire Frame, Jennifer Sims, 76 years old, receives the BEM for launching #Bagsofcare Community Fridge Free Bags Scheme, providing hot meals and free bags of food to the vulnerable, the elderly and those struggling financially due to the pandemic.

The oldest person on the list is Anne Baker from Salisbury, who, at 106 years old, receives an MBE for fundraising for the NSPCC.

She is closely followed by 104-year-old Ruth Saunders, receiving an MBE for walking a marathon to raise money for Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In a year when so many have made sacrifices to protect our NHS and save people’s lives, the outstanding efforts of those receiving honours today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion.

The 2021 New Year Honours offer us an opportunity to salute their dedication and recognise many who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to our country.

“As we begin a new year and continue to come together to fight this virus, may their service and stories be an inspiration to us all.”