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HomeFarmlifeFarmers share success of Open Farm Sunday 2023

Farmers share success of Open Farm Sunday 2023

Since its conception in 2006, the Linking Atmosphere and Farming Open Farm Sunday occasion has gained traction amongst farmers throughout the nation.

Now in it’s seventeenth iteration, this yr’s occasion, which passed off on Sunday 11 June, noticed greater than 250 farmers open their gates to the general public, welcoming about 150,000 guests to realize an important perception into meals manufacturing, the surroundings, and the broader agricultural trade. 

See additionally: How farmers are serving to to coach college youngsters about agriculture

Primarily based on earlier years’ findings, Linking Atmosphere and Farming (Leaf) says that, after attending an occasion, greater than half of holiday makers would take into account a profession in agriculture, whereas 96% say they’ve a larger appreciation for the work that farmers do. 

Farmers Weekly spoke to a number of the collaborating farmers this yr to search out out about their Open Farm Sunday (OFS) successes. 

Jake Freestone

OFS farm talk at Overbury Farm

© Jake Freestone

Farming on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border, arable and sheep farmer Jake Freestone has been a member of Leaf since 2004, and has taken half in each OFS occasion because the initiative first began.

“Training, the surroundings and meals manufacturing are the three issues we actually attempt to give attention to, in addition to regenerative agriculture,” mentioned Jake. “We prefer to share this with our local people.

“For us, it’s about telling our story of meals manufacturing and environmental conservation to neighbours who work together on the farm, strolling on the footpaths and bridleways. OFS offers us the chance to indicate them what we’re doing and the way we’re doing it.”

Working two excursions throughout the day, Jake had about 25 guests to the farm, who had been in a position to witness conservation chook ringing, see bee colonies inside an indication hive, and focus on the impression of corvids and foxes on the surroundings.

“It’s an funding in information,” mentioned Jake. “We additionally spoke quite a bit about canine being off leads and the way that may have a destructive impact on ground-nesting birds.

“It’s about taking accountability and possession for the surroundings you’re in. That funding of half a day organising is a small value to pay if we will cease a canine getting in with some sheep.”

Bryony Graham

Bryony Graham and Lodge Farm team at OFS

© Leaf

Bryony Graham hosted an OFS occasion on her 300ha household arable farm in Essex.

“We’re one in all a diminishing variety of farms within the space,” she mentioned. “There aren’t many which can be surviving spherical the place we’re in the mean time.

“We’re so near London and surrounded by lots of large cities, so we now have one thing we predict is kind of highly effective to supply when it comes to displaying individuals what the countryside appears like and the place their meals comes from.”

Bryony’s occasion concerned each strolling and tractor excursions, a equipment show setup with the assistance of native farmers to indicate package from completely different eras, an exercise matching completely different grains to the meals that they’re was, and bug catching among the many wildflowers.

“We really feel fairly strongly that there’s a lot farmers can do to interrupt down boundaries. There’s an actual discrepancy between what lots of people assume agriculture appears like, and what intensive agriculture is.

“It’s a chance for that type of communication about how fashionable farming works to be able to produce meals to feed individuals.

“We’re opening our doorways to be fully clear about how these items work.”

An sudden bonus, Bryony mentioned that planning the occasion additionally was a chance to convey native members of the farming group collectively to assist. “That’s been my favorite factor about planning it.”

Nick and Lucy Tyler

OFS at Nick and Lucy Tyler's farm in Wiltshire

© Leaf

Internet hosting their first OFS occasion, Wiltshire-based dairy and wagyu beef farmers Nick and Lucy Tyler mentioned that the occasion was vastly optimistic.

Primarily based on their 890ha farm, the pair milk 550 dairy cattle and have 405ha of combinable crops, however their OFS occasion centered primarily on displaying the workings of the dairy.

“Open Farm Sunday is one thing we had by no means accomplished earlier than,” mentioned Nick. “We thought we’d give it a go this yr and maintain it pretty low key.”

After promoting tickets on the local people Fb web page, which had been all booked up on the identical day, the Tylers had been in a position to organize two teams of holiday makers, with about 24 individuals in every group.

The 2-hour excursions concerned seeing the calves, the milking parlour with cows within the rotary system, and a take a look at feed rations, giving guests an opportunity to see the within operations of a working dairy.

“There have been a great deal of questions and a great deal of dialogue,” mentioned Nick. “We had youngsters and adults of all ages.

“The day was actually optimistic and interactive with technical and scientific questions. I feel we’re responsible as farmers for assuming the general public have an thought of what goes on as they see tractors flying previous, however they genuinely didn’t have a clue.

“We get on very properly with the village, however the dairy is away from the group and folks had been amazed, with no thought in regards to the technical parts, the IT, the herd well being and environmental stuff.”

Guests had been particularly “fascinated” by the digital identification and cow supervisor tags, which show temperatures and bulling actions. “One customer commented on the finish of the tour that they didn’t realise that farmers are scientists.”

Luke Abblitt

Park Farm OFS event

© Tim Scrivener

Farmer and YouTuber Luke Abblitt helped out on the Park Farm OFS occasion in Thorney, Cambridgeshire. Whereas not internet hosting an occasion on his personal farm, Luke volunteered to assist with the tractor excursions and farm safari.

Requested why he had determined to become involved with OFS, he mentioned: “It’s such an necessary initiative to attach all people with the place their meals comes from.

“The general public can rise up shut with machines, livestock and crops and take a look at how we produce meals and have the chance to talk to farmers.

“Most individuals don’t join with their meals and the farms that produce it, or they assume that farming is backwards and don’t realise the quantity of science and expertise behind it.

“It’s getting the general public on to farms in the fitting approach, with a farmer who can get hands-on and reply any questions,” mentioned Luke.



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