UFU thank Bank of Ireland for continued support for 8th Open Farm Weekend

Thursday, 7 February, 2019

Title sponsor Bank of Ireland is continuing its support for Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, now in its 8th year.  This Ulster Farmers’ Union led initiative has been principally supported by the Bank since 2014.  BOIOFW seeks to reconnect the public with where their local food comes from and offers an opportunity to meet the farmers and processors who produce it.

To date over 100,000 people, including children via the schools programme, have visited working farms in Northern Ireland to hear the story behind our food and gain an understanding of our world-renowned, quality farming practices.  Visitors also gain insights into how our countryside is being shaped and cared for and the current strength of Northern Ireland’s ‘food tourism’ potential.

Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri Business Manager, said; “Bank of Ireland is committed to supporting all agri-food related businesses through a range of products and services. We understand how vital this industry is to the rural communities within NI. The growth and prosperity of the wider NI economy also relies heavily on a thriving agri-food industry. Now more than ever, consumers are keen to learn about where their local produce originates from and we believe that Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend provides the perfect opportunity to practically illustrate and educate consumers on how our local food is produced. It also provides a fantastic opportunity for farmers who are keen to showcase their business and build relationships with people from their local community.

“The Bank has been part of the initiative since it began in 2012 and took the opportunity to become title sponsor in 2014. It is encouraging to see it go from strength to strength and become a key event in the NI farming calendar. Our support demonstrates our commitment to the local agriculture industry. We know the hard work that farmers put into running their businesses and initiatives like Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend help to engage with the public and encourages more support towards local produce, which in turn benefits the farmers.”

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend chairman and UFU deputy president David Brown added; “We are delighted that Bank of Ireland UK recognises the importance of this initiative and we are indebted to them for their continued support. To have their backing helps us to plan ahead, build on our brand awareness and attract new audiences to want to visit our participating farms. Their support has allowed this fantastic event to grow and we are thrilled to see new host farms continuing to come on-board for 2019.

“BOIOFW was established in 2012 to showcase our farming industry and the wonderful work our farmers do.  Its focus is to help the public, particularly those from a non-farming background to better understand how our food is produced and to raise awareness of how supply chains work, through our local food industry.  The passion and enthusiasm, shown by farm participants over the years, not only for farming but also for the whole experience of opening up their farms for Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend has been truly inspirational.

“On behalf of the UFU, I would like to record our thanks to Richard and his colleagues at Bank of Ireland UK for their financial support helping us to deliver this very worthwhile event.”

The search is now on to find farms willing to open their gates and fields to participate in the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2019. This year’s event will run on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June with school visits, by prior arrangement, planned for Friday 14th. Farmers that sign up to host will be given training and support in advance and a range of resources to help them get prepared for the public coming onto their land. To register your interest email Wendy Gallagher, BOIOFW Farm contact; causewayfoodie@gmail.com or call 07912 408256 / 028 9037 0222.

Pictured: 'Newborn for New BOIOFW Farm Host 2019' Back row l-r; Richard Primrose, Agri Business Manager Bank of Ireland UK, David Brown UFU, Chairman Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, Kenny Hawkes, Ranelly Farm, Omagh - New Farm Host for 2019. Seated l-r; Jennifer Hawkes, Ranelly Farm, Friesian heifer calf - born 19.01.19 - Ranelly Eliott Mary, Heather Stewart UFU, Project Manager Bank Of Ireland Open Farm Weekend.