Coronavirus: Open Farm Sunday moves to new June date

Open Farm Sunday (OFS) has been moved to 27 June to give the popular event the best chance of taking place safely as England emerges from coronavirus lockdown.

The government’s lockdown exit plan could see all legal limits on social contact lifted by 21 June. But this is under constant review and will be informed by infection rates.

See also: Mixed prospects for agriculture shows during 2021

Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf), the organiser of OFC, hopes the new date will allow farm visits to go ahead with minimal risk.

The event sees farmers open their gates to the public to educate consumers about British agriculture.

OFS manager Annabel Shackleton encouraged as many farmers as possible to take part, with more public interest expected after months of restrictions and many country shows cancelled.

“Big events may not be practical this year, but if the public is surging to the countryside, we’d love to see hundreds of smaller events taking place,” Ms Shackleton said.

“This is an excellent opportunity to share the farming, sustainability and food production story, but also, crucially, how to respect the countryside as we head into the summer holidays, which may see many more people spending time in rural areas for their staycation.”

To avoid overcrowding, host farmers are being asked to use a booking system for visitors this year.

Leaf OFS is working with farmers to produce a series of films offering support on hosting events, and guidance on complying with Covid-safe measures. More details will follow later this month.

Although the last weekend in June will be the official 2021 date, farmers across the UK wishing to host the Sunday before or after (20 June or 4 July) will have access to the same OFS support and resources.

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