More than four-fifths of those who visited farms as part of this year’s Open Farm Sunday initiative have increased their trust in British farming, figures show.
Open Farm Sunday, which is organised by Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), is often described as the farming industry’ annual open day.
LEAF said figures from this year’s event, which was staged last month, show 175,000 people visited farms this year, of which 20% were visiting a farm for the first time.
The figures also revealed 52% of those visiting farms were from urban areas, and 49% said the visit had inspired someone in their group to consider a career in farming.
A survey of visitors found 85% said Open Farm Sunday had increased their trust in British farming, 79% had learned something new about British food or farming, and 72% said they felt the farming industry was adapting to help combat climate change.
Just over half of farm visitors – 56% – said the visit had positively changed their opinion of food production or the farming industry.
Open Farm Sunday manager Annabel Shackleton from LEAF thanked the 251 farmers from across the UK who had opened their gates to members of the public for the event.
“Farmers are being hit hard by labour shortages and soaring costs, and the fact they have still jumped at the chance to showcase British farming is testament to their commitment and passion when it comes to sharing their story,” said Ms Shackleton.
“It has been wonderful to read comments from visitors who care deeply about how their food is produced and are interested in wider issues around sustainability, climate change and animal welfare.”
She said the survey results from this year’s farm visitors showed the power of Open Farm Sunday in connecting people – from both urban and rural areas – to where their food comes from, how it is produced and the farmers who make it all happen.
“Open Farm Sunday provides a unique channel through which we can all unite to showcase our industry, ignite interest from the public and harness their support for our industry and all it delivers,” added Ms Shackleton.
Next year’s Open Farm Sunday event will take place on June 11, 2023 and farmers wishing to take part can register their interest at www.farmsunday.org