Time is running out for farmers in County Londonderry considering taking part in this year’s Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend. With the deadline for registration approaching on Friday 3rd April 2015, Ulster Farmers’ Union has called on farmers across the county to join the award-winning initiative which takes place on 13th and 14thJune.
The popular family event aims to give the non-farming public a taste of farm life and educate Northern Ireland consumers and the next generation on the work which goes into food production. Now in its fourth year, the initiative has gone from strength to strength, last year attracting close to 20,000 members of the public to 21 real, working farms across Northern Ireland.
This year Ulster Farmers’ Union is keen to, once again, increase visitor numbers and strengthen the public’s knowledge of the ‘Farm to Fork’ journey. To do this, they need to recruit a total of 25 farms across the province.
Barclay Bell, Deputy President of Ulster Farmers’ Union and chair of the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend steering committee said,
“We’re nearly at our limit but we want more farmers from County Londonderry to help us tell the story of local food. Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is the perfect opportunity to improve Northern Ireland’s understanding of farming and food production.
“We understand the level of commitment involved with signing up to such an initiative and have introduced a new Farmer Information Brochure with case studies and a timeline of events, as well as introducing two ‘Farm Mentors’ to help support farmers. Our Farm Mentors are on hand to all participating farmers to showcase methods of best practice and answer any questions about the event,” added Mr Bell.
William Thompson, Agri-Manager with event sponsor Bank of Ireland UK said,
“It’s great to have so many farmers involved in such a worthwhile initiative, but we also need to press ahead with the promotional aspects of the event which means we have to impose a deadline on recruitment of Friday 3rdApril.
“Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend offers farmers a chance to gain new contacts throughout the industry and learn new marketing skills which can help improve the sales of their products. We recognise the level of dedication required from farmers and have recently hosted successful training evenings to help address farmer concerns, offer health and safety advice and share ‘best practice’ examples from previous years,” continued Mr Thompson.
Any farmers who would like more information can download the Farmer Information Brochure from the ‘Open My Farm’ section of the website or contact Project Manager Martin Byrne on 028 90393837 / email[email protected].