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Year on year increase of farm sign-ups for LEAF Open Farm Sunday

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are encouraging more farmers to seize the opportunity to connect with the consumer and build loyalty and support for British farming. The call for more farmers to register for LEAF Open Farm Sunday comes as it’s announced the number of farmers already committed to hosting events is up 10% on this time last year.

The num­ber of farm­ers already com­mit­ted to host­ing LEAF Open Farm Sun­day events is up 10% on this time last year. Three hun­dred farms from Jer­sey to Shet­land are set to open their gates on the 9th June to give the pub­lic a first-hand insight into farm­ing. The nation­al organ­is­ers, LEAF (Link­ing Envi­ron­ment And Farm­ing) are encour­ag­ing more farm­ers to seize this oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with the con­sumer and build loy­al­ty and sup­port for the British farm­ing industry.

We are call­ing on more farm­ers across Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales, of every size and every sec­tor, to fill the gaps across the coun­try, open their farm and to share their sto­ry,” said LEAF Open Farm Sun­day Man­ag­er, Annabel Shack­le­ton. We need more farms to respond to the public’s com­pelling appetite to vis­it a farm and learn more about where their food comes from and how it is pro­duced. It’s the per­fect time for farm­ers to strength­en the con­nec­tion with their cus­tomers when the indus­try is being chal­lenged by pol­i­cy changes, dietary trends and, poten­tial­ly, of cheap for­eign imports.

Of the 362 farms which host­ed a LEAF Open Farm Sun­day event last year, 26% did so for the first time — the high­est num­ber to date. These farms encom­passed all types of farm enter­prise — arable, live­stock and dairy through to horticulture.

Even at this stage there is still time to organ­ise a small event such as a farm walk for a few peo­ple” Mrs Shack­le­ton con­tin­ued, This can be out in the fields where you can keep prepa­ra­tion to a min­i­mum – a great start­ing point if you are host­ing for the first time. You decide what size of event to run, what vis­i­tors see, for how long and can man­age vis­i­tor num­bers through our free online tick­et­ing ser­vice. Every event mat­ters and every con­ver­sa­tion helps bridge that gap between pro­duc­ers and consumers.”

As well as thank­ing the farm­ers tak­ing part this year, Mrs Shack­le­ton praised the com­mit­ment of the spon­sors of LEAF Open Farm Sun­day. The 2019 prin­ci­pal spon­sors are Arla Foods, Asda, BASF plc, Co-op, Defra, Farm­ers Week­ly, Fron­tier Agri­cul­ture, John Deere Lim­it­ed, LEAF Mar­que, Marks and Spencer, NFU, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Wait­rose and the Agri­cul­ture and Hor­ti­cul­ture Devel­op­ment Board (AHDB).

In addi­tion to finan­cial sup­port, spon­sors pro­duce a range of free mate­ri­als and give­aways to inspire and engage vis­i­tors about farm­ing and all it deliv­ers. Many spon­sors also have vol­un­teers at the events.

Rob Glad­win, Head of Tech­ni­cal Man­age­ment, Agri­cul­tur­al Solu­tions, North­ern Europe for BASF, a spon­sor for many years, said:

Spon­sor­ing LEAF Open Farm Sun­day gives us an oppor­tu­ni­ty to sup­port an ini­tia­tive we whole-heart­ed­ly believe in. For farm­ers, pre­serv­ing the land is com­mon sense; for their busi­ness, for their com­mu­ni­ties and for the next gen­er­a­tion. We work hand in hand with grow­ers, ensur­ing we share our knowl­edge and solu­tions to help them to con­tin­ue to farm sus­tain­ably and prof­itably. LEAF Open Farm Sun­day is a unique event and oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case the efforts of farm­ers, edu­cat­ing the pub­lic on the hard work and pas­sion that goes into putting food on UK tables.”

The com­bined pos­i­tive impact of farms across the UK open­ing for this annu­al event is huge. In a vis­i­tor sur­vey car­ried out in 2018, 92% said they had a greater appre­ci­a­tion of the work that farm­ers do after vis­it­ing a farm; 86% said they felt more con­nect­ed to the farm­ers who pro­duced their food, and 78% report­ed they were now more proac­tive­ly look­ing to buy British food.

Chris Wilt­shire, Mar­ket­ing Man­ag­er of John Deere, a prin­ci­pal spon­sor, said:

LEAF Open Farm Sun­day pro­vides an ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty, not only to show a wider pub­lic audi­ence how advanced farm­ing tech­nolo­gies are being applied to the ben­e­fit of farm­ing, effi­cient food pro­duc­tion and sound envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, includ­ing the reduc­tion of harm­ful emis­sions, but also to encour­age young peo­ple to con­sid­er a chal­leng­ing and worth­while career in farm­ing and agri­cul­tur­al engi­neer­ing.

Farm­ers inter­est­ed in open­ing for LEAF Open Farm Sun­day on 9th June 2019 can find out more and reg­is­ter at www​.farm​sun​day​.org. Once reg­is­tered, farm­ers receive a hand­book and free resources.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Susan­nah at Jane Craigie Mar­ket­ing susannah@​janecraigie.​com or 07841 194 897.

Full press release click here.

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