The Prince of Wales received France’s Order of Agricultural Merit for his role as a pioneer in agroecology & commitment to tackling climate change.
Order of Agricultural Merit
The Order of Agricultural Merit (French: Ordre du Mérite Agricole) is an order bestowed by the French Republic for outstanding contribution to agriculture. It was second in importance only to the Legion of honour within the French order of precedence when it was created.
The order was established on 7 July 1883 based on the proposition of the then Minister of Agriculture Jules Méline in an effort to adequately reward services to agriculture in view of the maximum number of the Legion of honour that could be awarded yearly. His reasoning was that more than eighteen million Frenchmen lived directly from this industry which had a direct and most powerful impact on the entire national economy, farmers, agronomists, professors, researchers, labour was intensive and never ending, devotion was commonplace but the rewards were rare.
The original 1883 decree created a single grade order, only “knights” (French: “chevaliers”) were thus decorated. The decree of 18 June 1887 added the grade of “Officer” (French: “Officier”) and a third grade, that of “Commander” (French: “Commandeur”) was created by a decree of 3 August 1900. The present form and statute of the Order of Agricultural Merit were outlined in decree 59-729 of 15 June 1959.
The Order comprises approximately 340,000 knights to date, of which approximately 23,000 are alive at any given time, including all living former ministers of agriculture, officers number approximately 60,000 to date with approximately 5,000 living and approximately 4800 were made commanders to date, with approximately 400 living at any given time.
The Order of Agricultural Merit rewards people who rendered exceptional services to agriculture whether in public duties or in the very practice of agriculture. It also rewards people who distinguished themselves in scientific research or in related publications. There are two annual investiture ceremonies, the first on 1 January and the second on the 14th of July. The annual contingent has been limited to 60 commanders, 800 officers and 3,200 knights.
Award prerequisites are as follows:
Knight: be at least thirty years of age with fifteen years of service/work;
Officer: at least five years as a knight of the order;
Commander: at least five years as an officer of the order.
A 5% contingency is allowed for people gaining direct entry into the order as officers or commanders for exceptional reasons. Foreigners receiving the order are not subject to the seniority clause. Members of the Order of the Legion of Honour may be admitted to the Order of Agricultural Merit at the same rank they hold in the first.
An award certificate always accompanies the orde