Devenish executive chairman Owen Brennan has received an honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University.

The award recognises Brennan’s significant contribution to agricultural technologies through the activities of Devenish.

Since Brennan took on the role in 1997, Devenish has evolved from a trading company focused primarily on the Northern Ireland market to a research, development and innovation business trading in over 40 countries today.

Earlier this year, Brennan received an OBE for services to the Northern Ireland agricultural-food industry.

Brennan was recently appointed as the president of Harper Adams in Ireland, the university’s alumni network in the island of Ireland.

Outside of Devenish, he has been heavily involved in championing the agri-food industry. He has served as president of the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association, chairman of the Livestock and Meat Commission and on the Agri-Food Strategy Board.

Speaking after the ceremony, he said: “I am very pleased to receive this honour from Harper Adams. I am passionate about education – I have worked closely with the university for many years and look forward to working even more closely in the future.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire team at Devenish. This award is another reflection of the talented people that I have the privilege to work alongside.”

In his address to the graduates, Brennan highlighted the opportunity in the farming and food industry. He spoke about the role of quality food in promoting human health and preventing ill-health.

He also talked about the role that farmers can play as part of the climate solution, and the potential of farmers to sequester carbon in hedges, trees and particularly in soils, and also how he believes farmers should be paid to do this.

Brennan was one of four industry leaders presented with honorary degrees by Harper Adams University at the ceremony for over 700 graduating students.

Other recipients included Anna-May McHugh, honoured for her life-long work for the National Ploughing Association (NPA); David Furston, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon; and Prof. Han Luija, dean of the College of Engineering at China Agricultural University.