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‘Open your gates for next year’s Open Farm Sunday on 11th June and proudly show the public all that you achieve and the breadth of goods and services you deliver.’ That’s the message to farmers in Scotland from Open Farm Sunday organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), as registrations for Open Farm Sunday 2017 open.
As the sector is working to determine what a post-referendum farming industry is going to look like, there has never been a more critical time for farmers to demonstrate the vital role they play in delivering a wide range of public goods, beyond food production. This includes managing the countryside, its wildlife, our natural resources such as water, air and soil, and contributing to a stable climate and resilience to flooding.
With Scotland continuing to see an increase in interest and support from the general public for Open Farm Sunday, Scottish Co-ordinator Rebecca Dawes is keen that more farmers in Scotland stand up and be proud of the work they do.
“Last year more than 20,500 visitors stepped foot on a farm in Scotland to hear directly from those at the heart of our agricultural industry. The 21 host farmers who took part covered a wide area of Scotland but with a greater interest from the general public we are looking for more host farmers to come on board and join those who are already passionate about Open Farm Sunday.”
Rebecca, a farmer’s daughter whose family have hosted nine Open Farm Sunday events continued, “Open Farm Sunday is fully flexible so that farms of every size and type get involved whether you host a private farm tour for an invited audience or an open event for 100+ visitors. Some hosts require visitors to pre-book so they can control the numbers. For those with farm diversifications it is a great way to boost the profile of a business and help increase sales. So if it is your first Open Farm Sunday you can keep it as small and simple as you want.”
88% of visitors in 2016 reported they learnt something new and 22% had never visited a farm before. With over 75% of Scotland’s land mass under agricultural production, it is the single biggest determinant of the landscape and one that LEAF is encouraging farmers and public alike to be proud of.
Rebecca added: “On 11th June farmers in Scotland have an opportunity to tell the public how proud they are to rear their livestock, grow their crops and protect the environment – something as an industry we often shy away from. By embracing the support that is on offer from LEAF, this one-day event helps build the public’s trust and understanding about food and farming so they can fully value the food they eat and the work farmers do.”
Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF explains: “LEAF Open Farm Sunday provides the perfect platform for farmers to shine a light on what they deliver and why supporting British farming matters. Everyone can and should get involved in Open Farm Sunday to help the public discover the world of farming.”
To help more farmers host an event, LEAF is developing a new programme of OFS Bitesize webinars, blogs and case studies to give farmers the knowledge, ideas and confidence to invite the public onto their farm. A team of Open Farm Sunday Co-ordinators and LEAF staff are on hand to support farmers, and a dedicated Scottish webinar has been scheduled for 28th February 2017.
For further information contact:
Open Farm Sunday - Scotland
T: 07792 467730