Today is the fifth annual Open Farm Sunday – and up to 140,000 members of the public are expected to visit a local farm to get a taste of rural life.
Visitors up and down the country will be watching demonstrations of sheep shearing, milking and working dogs, taking part in tractor rides, crop tours and nature trails, witnessing rare breeds and shopping at farmers’ markets.
Some hosts, like celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty and his wife Michaela, will see up to 2,000 visitors pass through their gate before the day is out. Other venues are running smaller, invitation-only events for friends, family and neighbours.
But all have one common aim – to get consumers in touch with what really 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 go 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.
“Three DEFRA ministers are also visiting farms today,” he adds.
Open Farm Sunday has quickly grown to become one of the industry’s biggest promotional events, with many host farmers 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.
Part of Open Farm Sunday?
Upload your pictures directly to our gallery at www.fwi.co.uk/ofsgallery2010 or send a selection of your best to firstname.lastname@example.org
A spread of our favourite shots will make it into the 18 June issue of Farmers Weekly. You can also tell us about your day via twitter using the hashtag #OFS