Peter Kendall, the former president of the National Farmers Union and current president of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, has been awarded a knighthood - one of several leading figures from the world of food and drink to have been recognised in the 2015 New Year’s honours list.

Kendall, who stepped down from the post of NFU president after eight years in early 2014, was named Knight Batchelor in recognition of his services to the agricultural industry.

Meanwhile, Nestlé UK and Ireland chair and CEO Fiona Kendrick becomes a dame in recognition for her services to the food and drink industry and to skills development.

Former Camelot CEO Dianne Thompson is made a dame for her services to the National Lottery and charity.

Commenting on Kendall’s knighthood, current NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “While he was president of the NFU, Peter worked tirelessly to represent our members - at all times of the day or night. Our members trusted Peter to stand up for their interests, something he did tirelessly at all levels for eight years at the NFU.”

Kendall said he was “incredibly proud” and that it had been a privilege to represent farmers during his tenure at the NFU.  “It’s an industry that is so important to the country and I see this honour in part as recognition of the vital contribution that British farming makes day-in-day-out,” he added.

Honours given to other leading lights of the food and drink industry include:

Sir Adrian Hayhurst Cadbury, former chairman of Cadbury and Cadbury Schweppes – an order of the companions of honour

Dr John Damien Fay, director, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, Northern Ireland Executive – an OBE for services to agri-food education.

David Reynolds, director at Camgrain – an OBE for services to agriculture and the community in the East Midlands.

John Stewart Broomhall, committee member at the Nantwich Agricultural Show – an OBE for services to agriculture, the rural economy and the community in Nantwich

Alastair Hislop Hume – an OBE for services to fisheries management