Order of Agricultural Merit

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Order of Agricultural Merit
Officer's insignia (obverse and reverse)
Awarded by the Minister of Agriculture
of the French Republic
TypeOrder of merit
Established7 July 1883
Awarded forSpecial distinction in services to agriculture
StatusCurrently constituted
President of the Order's councilStéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture
Secretary of the Order's councilCoralie Bernard, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Agriculture office
First induction17 July 1883
Last inductionApril 2017
(Charles, Prince of Wales)
Total inductees30,000 (living)
Next (higher)Order of Academic Palms
Next (lower)Order of Maritime Merit
RelatedNational Order of Merit



The three graded ribbon bars of the Order

The Order of Agricultural Merit (French: Ordre du Mérite agricole) is an order of merit bestowed by the French Republic for outstanding contributions to agriculture. When it was created in 1883, it was second in importance only to the Legion of Honour within the French order of precedence.[1]


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 powerful impact on the entire national economy (farmers, agronomists, professors, researchers, etc.). Labour was intensive and never ending, devotion was commonplace but the rewards were rare.[1]

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"). 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.[1]

The Order comprises approximately 340,000 recipients 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.[2]

Award statute[edit]

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, 600 officers and 2,400 knights.[1]

Award prerequisites are as follows:[3][4]

  • Knight: be at least thirty years of age with fifteen years of service/work;
  • Officer: at least five years as a Member of the order;
  • Commander: at least five years as an Officer of the order.

Conditions of age and of seniority may be lowered for candidates who have outstanding qualifications.[5]

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.[3]

An award certificate always accompanies the order.[3]


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.[1]

The officers' and commanders' badges also bear a gilt wreath, half vine and half olive branch, between the insignia and the ribbon suspension ring.[3]

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.[3]

The order hangs from a 37mm wide silk moiré green ribbon with 5mm amaranth vertical stripes located 1mm from the edges. The commander's insignia is worn on a cravat around the neck.[1]

Knight Officer Commander

Notable recipients[edit]

Oenologist Denis Boubals, a recipient of the Order of Agricultural Merit
Prefect Richard Samuel, a recipient of the Order of Agricultural Merit
Professor Pierre Barrère, a recipient of the Order of Agricultural Merit




Unknown rank[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "France Phaléristique web site" (in French). Marc Champenois. 1 January 2004. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Le Mérite agricole – Chiffres". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Battini, Jean; Zaniewicki, Witold (2003). Guide pratique des décorations françaises actuelles. Paris: LAVAUZELLE. ISBN 2-7025-1030-2.
  4. ^ "Article 4 - Décret n°59-729 du 15 juin 1959 RELATIF a l'ORDRE DU MERITE AGRICOLE (COMPOSITION DE l'ORDRE CONTINGENT, NOMINATIONS, PROMOTIONS, DISCIPLINE, CONTROLE) - Légifrance". Legifrance.
  5. ^ "Article 5-1 - Décret n°59-729 du 15 juin 1959 RELATIF a l'ORDRE DU MERITE AGRICOLE (COMPOSITION DE l'ORDRE CONTINGENT, NOMINATIONS, PROMOTIONS, DISCIPLINE, CONTROLE) - Légifrance". Legifrance.
  6. ^ Queen Anne with her daughter Crown Princess Margareta and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy at the gala for her investiture into the order held at the Palace of the Legion of Honour (wears the green order necklet on her neck, seen from behind)
  7. ^ "Prince's Palace of Monaco".
  8. ^ "French wine distributor in Taiwan honored by French government". Central News Agency. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  9. ^ Becker, Stuart Alan (10 July 2012). "Madam Lim, Luu Meng honoured". The Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Priyam Chatterjee becomes first Indian chef to receive French honour". Hindustan Times. 13 August 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  11. ^ Sommer, Theo (25 October 2003). "Laudatio auf Wolfram Siebeck zu seinem 75. Geburtstag". Die Zeit (in German).
  12. ^ "Papa AbdoulayeSECK (Ministre de l'Agriculture et de l'équipement rural) - Abidjan.net Qui est Qui". Abidjan.net. Retrieved 1 January 2023.

External links[edit]