Patchy weather and a higher number of small-scale events contributed to the first drop in Open Farm Sunday visitor numbers in four years.
More than 230,000 people are estimated to have ventured on to farms last Sunday (9 June) for the nationwide event, which aims to bring farmers and consumers closer together by showing the public what UK agriculture is really about.
After last year’s record attendance, the 14th annual open day saw visitor numbers fall by almost 22%.
With 361 farms participating this year, practically the same as in recent years, 85% of host farmers said they used the day to inform the public about food and farming.
Run by Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf), the event sees all types of producers get involved, from large arable estates in East Anglia to mixed units in remote parts of Wales, as well as farm parks, hop gardens and llama farms.
Public engagement with how British farmers produce world-class food and care for the environment was as high as ever, however.
“Our farmers have been blown away by the calibre and quantity of questions from visitors about environmental practices,” said Leaf’s Open Farm Sunday manager, Annabel Shackleton.
“It’s inspiring to see so many taking an active interest in how their food is produced and choosing to connect with farmers.”
Open Farm Sunday 2020
Next year’s event will take place on Sunday 7 June. The organisers are calling for more farmers to get involved next year to meet the increasing demand from the public to visit a farm. For more information and to register your farm, go to the Open Farm Sunday website.