Commodity Watch - Award winning Open Farm Weekend initiative success

Saturday, 5 July, 2014

Commodity Watch 

The Ulster Farmers’ Union are delighted with the enormous success of this year’s Open Farm Weekend, with almost 20,000 people visiting one of our 21 participating farms across Northern Ireland.

Back in 2012 the UFU launched Open Farm Weekend to enable the public at large to venture onto farms in order to see for themselves the reality of agricultural life. The 2012 event recorded around 5000 visitors, which was doubled in 2013 with almost 10,000 people heading out to learn all about food and farming. Such was the success of the event that Bank of Ireland came on board as principal sponsor for the popular Open Farm Weekend initiative.

With this support behind us, as well as that of Asda and the Prince’s Trust, and with great input from the YFCU, DARD, CAFRE and NIFDA, Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2014 was a huge success. This wouldn’t have been possible however, without the help and direction from Food NI, Morrow Communications and not forgetting the 21 farmers who took part in the initiative on a voluntary basis.

UFU Deputy President and Chairman of the BOIOFW Steering Committee, Barclay Bell said; “the lengths that each and every one of our twenty-one participating farmers went to in order to make the weekend a success were nothing short of staggering and it is surely accurate that the bar, which was set high in 2013 has not only been matched, but exceeded greatly.”

The success of this event speaks volumes about the real face of the farming community in Northern Ireland. These farmers invited the public onto their property for no financial return and with the aim of reconnecting the general public with the agricultural sector on which they depend so heavily for their food. The number of visitors is testament to the fact that the public are ready and willing to accept the invitation and to see our rural communities as they really are.  The feedback from this year’s event has been overwhelmingly positive and we have already begun planning for Open Farm Weekend 2015.