Recognition for Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend farmers

Tuesday, 9 September, 2014

Following on from this year’s hugely successful Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, which saw nearly 20,000 people visiting real, working farms across Northern Ireland to find out more about where their food comes from and meet the people who produce it, a special event has been hosted to commend and thank the twenty one farmers who opened their farms to the public.

Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President Barclay Bell said; “The farmers, their families and the farms themselves are the stars of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, without them the event simply would not have been possible. We wanted to find a special way to say ‘thank you’ for all the hard work they have put in to showcasing Northern Ireland’s first class farming industry and we thought bringing everyone together for a celebration was ideal. It was also an opportunity for participating farmers to meet each other and to share their experiences of taking part in the event. To recognise their participation in the 2014 event we presented each farmer with an engraved Limavady slate plaque, which they could take home and proudly display on their farms.

“Plans are already underway for next year’s Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend and I hope that many of this year’s participants will be back again. Already they have served as great ambassadors for our industry and hopefully they have inspired other farmers who may be thinking of opening their gates in 2015. I’d also like this opportunity to thank our sponsors and partners: Bank of Ireland; NFU Mutual; ASDA; Prince’s Countryside Fund; DARD NI Regional Food Programme; YFCU; CAFRE; NIFDA; and Food NI for their continued support of the Open Farm Weekend initiative.”

Speaking at the event, DARD Permanent Secretary Noel Lavery said; ‘‘I congratulate the Ulster Farmer’s Union and their partners for the organisation and delivery of the successful ‘2014 Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend’ that showcased our local produce and the work of our agri-food sector. I particularly thank the participating farmers and their families for opening up their farms to the general public. Their enthusiasm, effort and willingness to share their day to day work on their farm was key to ensuring the success of this event. I also commend Bank of Ireland on showing commitment to the agri-food industry through their lead sponsorship of Open Farm Weekend this year.’’

William Thompson, Agri Manager from sponsor Bank of Ireland added: ‘This year’s event has been a huge success with a record number of farmers opening their farms & visitors attending an open farm. Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is a fantastic way for farmers to tell the story of the local food they produce and Bank of Ireland is delighted to support this. We are extremely grateful to all farmers who participated in the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend without whom the event would not be possible and look forward to working with them again, and hopefully a number of new farmers in 2015.”  

The UFU would like to extend a special thank you to ASDA for supplying the food for the thank you evening; to Bank of Ireland for the plaques; and to Greenmount College for the use of their premises.