Farmers gear up for Open Farm Sunday

More than 350 farmers have registered to open their gates to the public for Open Farm Sunday (OFS), of which 25% are first-time hosts.

Linking Environment And Farming (Leaf), the organiser, says there is a trend towards late registrations this year, with up to three still coming in every day this week.

The farming industry’s annual open day – now in its 14th year – will take place on 9 June.

See also: Open Farm Sunday first-timers share their experiences

Annabel Shackleton, Leaf’s Open Farm Sunday manager, said it was not too late to take part and host an event.

“There is a huge appetite among the public to visit a farm and a widespread awareness of the event,” she told Farmers Weekly.

“Farmers have the confidence that through social media or a couple of posters in the local community they will easily fill a farm walk or small event, even if they start advertising just the week before.”

This week, research by the Country Trust revealed that 38% of children surveyed had never heard a live cow “mooing” or run through a field.

Mrs Shackleton urged farmers to get involved as “now more than ever we need to help the public to understand and value the work farmers do”.

Hundreds more farmers, agronomists, suppliers, machinery dealers and contractors will be supporting events across the country, to help share the story of how food is produced from farm to fork.

Ticketing service

The new OFS online ticketing service will allow farm hosts to manage visitor numbers.

More films in the Speak Out training resource, sponsored by the Crop Protection Association, will help farmers to speak with confidence and field some of the more difficult questions.

Quality Meat Scotland also launched a short film this week to support OFS and showcase one of its farming families.

The Wilsons at Cowbog Farm in Kelso committed to opening their gates at the last minute last year, and share their experience and advice. 

The organisers are also urging tomato, pepper and pig farmers opening to the public this year to take extra precautions with biosecurity to prevent the spread of disease.

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