Farming stalwarts named in King’s Honours List 

Two industry stalwarts have been named in the King’s Birthday Honours List for their services to farming.

countryside picture with MBE medal in a circle
MBE image: MoD/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

MBEs have been awarded to John James Martin, secretary for Holstein NI, and Edward Adamson, NSA Northern Ireland development officer.

30-year career

John James Martin
John James Martin.

John James Martin is from Kesh in County Fermanagh and his career in the Northern Ireland dairy industry spans more than 30 years.

After working at the former Milk Marketing Board for Northern Ireland, in 1997 John was appointed field development officer for the UK-based Holstein Friesian Society, now known as Holstein UK.

In 1999 he was instrumental in the successful amalgamation of the NI Holstein Friesian Breeders’ Club and the NI Holstein Club. 

Holstein NI is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

John is also a founding member of the Pedigree Cattle Trust and represents dairy farmers on the Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Forum. 

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An ambassador for agriculture

John has been integral to the development of the club and is a great ambassador for the breed and agriculture generally.

Through his organisation skills, Holstein NI Open Days (2016–2019) and a ‘post covid’ outdoor auction and BBQ in 2021, raised over £122,500 for a number of local charities.

In 2015/16, when the NI dairy industry was in crisis due to an over-supply of milk, due to the abolition on quota in the EU, John headed up a group that devised a production reduction model in February 2016. 

After lobbying local and national government and politicians, this proposal was adopted by the EU Commission in July 2016 and rolled out to dairy farmers a few months later.

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The reduction in milk production which followed as a result of the scheme allowed the markets to stabilise, and as a direct result, dairy farmers benefitted from a more sustainable milk price.

John Martin is also a mentor and ‘point of contact’ for members of Holstein Northern Ireland. 

Over the years, and especially since the onset of the pandemic, he provided a sympathetic and listening ear for dairy farmers and is recognised by many as a ‘wise counsel’.

READ MORE: Dairy farmers recognised in 2024 New Year Honours list  

Important representative

Edward Adamson
Edward Adamson.

NSA Northern Ireland development officer Edward Adamson farms alongside his family in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

He first became involved with NSA more than 30 years ago after winning a competition in NSA Sheep Farmer magazine. 

This ultimately led to his management of NSA Northern Ireland, representing the UK sheep sector in several countries across the world.

He has been an important representative of the sheep sector in Northern Ireland joining endless industry meetings with key officials. 

Having also served as regional treasurer and chairman, and was made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society in 2016.

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Unexpected news

Commenting on his MBE, Edward said: “This news came as an unexpected surprise. 

“I have enjoyed representing and fighting for the sheep sector but couldn’t have done it without a good team and especially my wife Heather who has always been patient, supportive and understanding throughout the last 40 years.”

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Edward has worked hard to support the next generation of sheep farmers. 

He was instrumental in the development of the NSA Samuel Wharry Memorial Award. 

Since 2018 this has allowed four enthusiastic young sheep farmers to research farming enterprises in different nations.

Well deserved

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker commented: “We are delighted that Edward has been chosen for this award and all of us at NSA send big congratulations to him. 

“It is well deserved and worthy recognition of all the things he has done and continues to do for the sheep industry.”

Away from NSA Edward has been involved with several breeds and breed societies including Clun Forest, Dutch Spotted, Ile de France and Lleyn.

He has helped to promote the breeds in the UK and abroad with work to transport sheep embryos to the USA to introduce a greater diversity of breeds.

Read more livestock news.


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