4500 kids expected at Suffolk farming open day

About 4.500 children are expected to attend an open day run by Suffolk Agricultural Association which aims to help kids connect with food and the countryside.

The open day, now in its eleventh year, will run on 28 April with the help of 175 volunteering stewards and over 100 exhibitors.

Suffolk’s School Farm and Country Fair is a non-profit day designed to inspire and rejuvenate the interest of children, teachers and parents in everything that the countryside has to offer.

A unique feature of the day is that each school group is given their very own farmer steward to guide them through the various activities allowing the children direct contact with a member of the farming community.

The day includes demonstrations such as ‘The Farming Year’ featuring an impressive range of farm machinery in action, a farrier at work, a sheep dog display and gun dog races.

In addition, commercial and voluntary organisations provide interactive displays which demonstrate the great diversity of farming and countryside activities.

Pupils are also invited to tour a conservation area and ancient woodland trail to see the practical application of conservation.

The day has grown in popularity so much that there were over 7,000 pupil request to attend but a limit of 4,500 has been agreed because of H&S constraints and the pressure it would put on volunteers.

All the transport to the event is subsidised by SAA through sponsorship.

Brian Barker, winner of the 2010 Countryside Farmer of the Year award and a committee member for the event, said each year it got better and better.

“We read how we need to address the lack of new blood coming into farming and how can it be done. This, I think, is a real good news story about addressing the real grass roots of the next generation,” he said.

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