Order of Agricultural Merit
|Order of Agricultural Merit|
Commander of the Order of Agricultural Merit
|Awarded by France Ministère de l'Agriculture|
|Type||Order of Merit with 3 degrees:
|Awarded for||Special distinction in services to agriculture|
|Established||7 July 1883|
|First awarded||17 July 1883|
|Next (higher)||Ordre des Palmes académiques|
|Next (lower)||Ordre du Mérite Maritime|
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 order.
The Order of Agricultural Merit is in the form of a 40mm (35mm for pre November 1999) wide star, 60mm for the commander's insignia, with six white enamelled arms, the arms resting on a gilt wreath of wheat on the right and of corn on the left. On the obverse at its center, a gilt medallion bearing the effigy of the republic in the form of the relief right profile of a woman's head, the medallion is surrounded by a narrow blue enamelled band bearing the golden semi circular inscription "RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE" ("FRENCH REPUBLIC"). On the reverse, the gilt medallion bears the relief inscription on three lines "MÉRITE" "AGRICOLE" "1883" ("AGRICULTURAL MERIT 1883"), it is surrounded by a plain blue enamelled band.
The officers' and commanders' badges also bear a gilt wreath, half vine and half olive branch, between the insignia and the ribbon suspension ring.
The knight's insignia is made of silver, the officer's is made of silver-gilt, the commander's is made of silver-gilt or gold.
Noteworthy recipients (partial list)
- Jean Dupuy
- Jules Gravereaux
- Christine Lagarde
- René Renou
- Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark
- Caroline, Princess of Hanover
- Yann Arthus-Bertrand
- Philippe Adnot
- Florian Bellanger
- Wina Born
- Laura Calder
- Jacques Chirac
- Elizabeth David
- Vasily Dokuchaev – 1889
- Robert Drouhin
- Patricia Gallagher
- Thomas Harvey Gill
- Henry S. Graves
- Michel Guérard
- Hermann Jaeger
- Richard Juhlin
- Patrick Levaye
- Bernard Loiseau
- Kermit Lynch
- Brian Morrissey
- Thomas Volney Munson
- Roland Passot
- Jacques Pépin
- Patrick Smet-Chevron
- Morsi El Soda
- Jon Winroth
- Stanisław Tyszkiewicz
- Anil Chandhok
- Oldrich Obermaier
- Jean Carmet
- Catherine Deneuve
- Jean-Paul Huchon
- Paul Morand
- Louis Pasteur
- Roger Peyrefitte
- Charles Semblat
- Michel Serrault
- "France Phaléristique web site" (in French). Marc Champenois. 1 January 2004. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- "Le Mérite agricole – Chiffres". Retrieved 12 April 2011.
- Battini, Jean; Zaniewicki, Witold (2003). Guide pratique des décorations françaises actuelles. Paris: LAVAUZELLE. ISBN 2-7025-1030-2. External link in
- "French wine distributor in Taiwan honored by French government". Central News Agency. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
- "Enologist and horticulturist from Virginia (USA) honored by French government in 1907". Virginia Tech. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
- Ministère de l'Agriculture, Ordre du Mérite Agricole official website (French)
- Site and forum on military and civil French orders and medals (French)
- Charcosset, Gaëlle (Oct–Nov 2002). "La distinction aux champs. Les décorés du Mérite agricole (Rhône, 1883–1939)". Ruralia (in French). ISSN 1280-374X. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Museum of the Legion of Honour(French)