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Philip runs the family farm in west Herefordshire. The farm specialises in herbage, cereal and vining pea seed production and has a herd of single suckler beef cattle. Philip's wife Heather runs a mail order Birdseed (all supplied and packed by the farm) and ancillaries business, Wiggly Wigglers together with a mail order florist, The Great British Florist, supplying UK grown flowers only, some of which are grown on the farm.

Philip runs the fam­i­ly farm in west Here­ford­shire. The farm spe­cialis­es in herbage, cere­al and vin­ing pea seed pro­duc­tion and has a herd of sin­gle suck­ler beef cat­tle. Philip’s wife Heather runs a mail order Bird­seed (all sup­plied and packed by the farm) and ancil­lar­ies busi­ness, Wig­gly Wig­glers togeth­er with a mail order florist, The Great British Florist, sup­ply­ing UK grown flow­ers only, some of which are grown on the farm.


The farm has held a num­ber of open days includ­ing Open Farm Sun­day in the past and Philip is the OFS region­al co-ordi­na­tor for the West Midlands.

As signs of Spring just start to appear and the days length­en, the deci­sion to reg­is­ter the farm for OFS2018 can feel some­thing of a chal­lenge. Farms rarely look their best at this time of year and mine is no excep­tion. How­ev­er, start­ing to plan the day and put my thoughts in order tends to soon com­bat the doubts.

For me, col­lab­o­ra­tion is prob­a­bly the key tool in clar­i­fy­ing what needs address­ing and how. By talk­ing to oth­er farm­ers and friends, some of whom have opened their farm suc­cess­ful­ly before, my con­fi­dence is soon restored. My per­cep­tion that every­one else’s farms are brand new, per­fect­ly man­i­cured exam­ples of mod­el farm­yards is soon dis­pelled. Farms come in all shapes and sizes and the vast major­i­ty are, with some basic plan­ning, entire­ly suit­able for a pub­lic visit. 


In my expe­ri­ence as a Local co-ordi­na­tor, the two most com­mon anx­i­eties seem to be Health & Safe­ty and Will I be over­whelmed with visitors?’. 

I have found it very help­ful to be remind­ed that LEAF Open Farm Sun­day is an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the pub­lic to vis­it my farm on my terms rather than theirs. Although it is impor­tant to keep them safe, we all have areas that either we would rather they don’t see or we feel are impos­si­ble to make safe. Here my in stock’ spare machin­ery, (some may say scrap) is unsight­ly and poten­tial­ly haz­ardous if peo­ple had access to it. My chem­i­cal shed and work­shop are not ide­al and my con­crete yard should have been com­plete­ly resur­faced ten years ago. How­ev­er, it is per­fect­ly accept­able to restrict the areas that our vis­i­tors have access to. I have found that they are not nec­es­sar­i­ly expect­ing the brochure’ farm­yard and are very keen to hear my sto­ry about my farm. They ful­ly realise it is a work­ing envi­ron­ment, not designed in the first instance for pub­lic access. I also find the impe­tus that Open Farm Sun­day gives me to insti­gate some tidy­ing up is a pos­i­tive one. I tend to get used to a pile of plas­tic string wait­ing to be col­lect­ed, etc. I also have found that while the farm can look a bit glum at the end of Feb­ru­ary, by June it is green and hope­ful­ly with a sun­ny day, the whole out­look is changed. In my expe­ri­ence, some time and thought is very well spent in plan­ning food, hygiene and the order in which peo­ple are direct­ed around the farm. The guide­lines pro­vid­ed by LEAF make this easy and inex­pen­sive. Again, I have found col­lab­o­ra­tion to be key by get­ting the local WI to pro­vide teas and cake for char­i­ty, I ful­ly com­plied with leg­is­la­tion and raised some mon­ey for a local good cause. Engag­ing friends and neigh­bours to help with park­ing, con­tin­gency plans and so forth all help to spread my work­load on the day. 


In terms of the fear of being over­whelmed with vis­i­tors, I talked to oth­er host farm­ers and OFS staff and found their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence invalu­able. Once I had got my head around the dif­fer­ent lev­els of pro­mo­tion and the like­ly vis­i­tor num­bers they would gen­er­ate, per­son­al­ly I was a lot hap­pi­er. I was able to arrange con­tin­gen­cies for park­ing and traf­fic to give me a rea­son­able mar­gin of error and talk­ing to oth­ers, remind­ed me that prob­lems in this area are extreme­ly rare and real­ly only apply to TV celebrities! 

My insur­ance com­pa­ny (in my case NFU­Mu­tu­al) were very sup­port­ive and also had a wealth of help­ful info and indeed the vast major­i­ty of our sup­pli­ers and con­tacts were keen to help and offer advice and experience. 

Over­all, my main piece of advice is to give your­self time and space to enjoy the expe­ri­ence. By accept­ing help from oth­ers, I found I thor­ough­ly enjoyed telling my own sto­ry to peo­ple who were fas­ci­nat­ed by my world with­out hav­ing to wor­ry whether the cake had run out or some­one had mis­laid their car keys! 

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