Dairy farmers recognised in 2024 New Year Honours list  

Two dairy farmers from Somerset and Coleraine in Northern Ireland have made it onto the 2024 New Year Honours list, recognising their selfless service to others.

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis at Worthy Farm, Pilton. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis was awarded a knighthood for his contributions to music and charity. He founded the festival on his Somerset farm in 1970, where he still runs a thriving herd of 500 dairy cows. 

Sir Michael is also a finalist in the 2023 NMR/ RABDF Gold Cup Award, the most prestigious dairy award in the UK. The winner will be announced at next month’s Dairy-Tech on 7th February. 

In a Q+A about his knighthood on the festival’s website, he said: “The farm has been a fantastic part of my life. We’re finalists for the Gold Cup again this year, the UK’s premier dairy herds competition. The judges were here earlier this month (December), and we’ll find out if we’ve won in February. So that’s a big deal, too. Well, it is to me anyway!”

Services to mental health

Adam Watson, a dairy farmer from Coleraine, County Londonderry, was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to mental health in the farming community in Northern Ireland. Mr Watson helped raise awareness of the difficulties faced by Northern Ireland’s farmers when he wrote a blog about his own battle with depression. In 2019, he also spoke openly at several events about his struggles to help raise awareness of mental health in farming. 

RABDF managing director Matthew Knight says he’s delighted to see recognition for individuals going above and beyond in the dairy industry. 

“Sir Michael is a familiar face in the dairy industry, not only as the Glastonbury Festival organiser but as a farmer investing and driving forward one of the most advanced dairy systems. Sir Michael won the NMR RABDF Gold Cup 10 years ago and is shortlisted for the 2023 award. 

“The farm has changed considerably over the past decade thanks to the adoption of technology, being clear innovators in the sector, and continuously challenging what is ‘normal’ in dairy farming,” he said.  

“It’s also excellent to see Adam honoured for raising awareness of the mental health struggles in farming. It’s an ever-growing issue with the financial and legislative challenges of farming and the isolated working environment. We are passionate about raising awareness of it, and we thank Adam for his hard work in sharing his story and going above and beyond to help others,” Mr Knight said.  

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