'Stand by Your Ham' farm campaigner humbled by OBE

A PIG farmer has been formally recognised for going to extraordinary lengths to try to save his industry's bacon.

Richard Longthorp, 57, chairman of the Agri-Skills Strategy Group, receives an OBE for services to farming.

Another rural champion, Dorothy Fairburn, regional director of the Country, Land and Business Association, is made an MBE for services to rural affairs in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

As well as heading an organisation dedicated to bringing formal qualifications to the farming industry, Mr Longthorp also provided backing vocals on Stand By Your Ham, a record highlighting the plight of the industry, and helped make a documentary film, The Pig Issue, for the same purpose.

He is also chairman of the England Council of Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for the environment and land-based sector, is on the board of the British Pig Executive and is a former chairman of the National Pig Association.

Mr Longthorp, who farms at Howden, East Yorkshire, wanted the award to be seen as recognition for the "unsung heroes" of farming.

He said: "It (the award) was a big shock but I'm delighted. On reflection you think of all the fantastic people who have received similar awards in the past.

"What's more humbling is to think of the people who have done as much, if not more, who haven't been recognised.

"It's important to get recognition for the many unsung heroes, very skilled people, working throughout the industry all through this chronically bad weather, and what we are seeking to do is get recognition for their skill and durability."

Miss Fairburn, a farmer's daughter from the North York Moors, where her brothers still farm, has clocked up more than 30 years' service to the rural economy since graduating from London University with a degree in agriculture.

Prior to joining the CLA, she worked for the National Trust in Yorkshire, managing 30,000 acres of outstanding countryside, as well as being responsible for historic houses open to the public and the acquisition of major new properties.

In her spare time, Miss Fairburn is a trustee and vice-chairman of Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, and has been involved with 20m worth of projects to benefit the Dales since its inception in 1998.

She said: "I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to accept this award on behalf of the wonderful team I work with at the CLA and as recognition of the work the CLA does in Yorkshire for farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

"I have a great job – helping members deal with the red tape and bureaucracy that blights their lives and representing their interests at every level of Government is extremely rewarding."