Early reaction to Open Farm Sunday has been positive, with up to 140,000 members of the public expected to have visited a farm to get a taste of rural life.
People up and down the country have watched demonstrations of sheep shearing, milking and working dogs, taken part in tractor rides, crop tours and nature trails, seen rare breeds and shopped at farmers’ markets.
Some hosts, like celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty and his wife Michaela, were expecting up to 2,000 visitors to pass through their gate before the day is out. Other venues were running smaller, invitation-only events for friends, family and neighbours.
But all had one common aim – to get consumers in touch with what happens on a working farm.
“This has become one of the major events in the agricultural calendar,” says Open Farm Sunday manager Tom Allen-Stevens.
“It’s a chance for farmers to communicate directly with the public about what they do and this, in turn, fosters understanding. Tens of thousands of people will have gone home with a more positive perspective on agriculture and a heightened awareness of how important British farmers are in terms of putting food on the nation’s tables.”
Open Farm Sunday has quickly grown to become one of the industry’s biggest promotional events, with many hosts enlisting the help of the wider agricultural community to stage events, including neighbouring farmers, farm workers, vets and agronomists.
Many hosts are also offering a range of activities especially for kids, such as pony rides, face painting, scavenger hunts and letting them get up close and personal to feed the animals.
A spread of our favourite shots will make it into the 18 June issue of Farmers Weekly. You can also get involved on Twitter using the hashtag #OFS