Open Farm Sunday changed 90% of visitors’ opinions about agriculture, says survey

Open Farm Sunday 2018 at Coston Hall Farm near Dereham. Picture: Chris Hill.

Open Farm Sunday 2018 at Coston Hall Farm near Dereham. Picture: Chris Hill. - Credit: Chris Hill

Farmers who invite people onto their land are having a lasting positive impact on public perception about their industry, according to the organisers of Open Farm Sunday.

A survey by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) shows that nearly 90pc of farm visitors in June 2018 said it had changed the way they think about agriculture – up 12pc from the previous year.

The research also shows 92pc of Open Farm Sunday visitors said they appreciated the work of farmers more, 86pc said they felt more connected to the farmers who produced their food, and 78pc said they were now more proactively looking to buy British food.

'These figures show just how powerful it is when farmers open their farms to the public,' said Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Manager.

'There is a high level of interest in food production but unfortunately we have seen a lot of misinformation about farming in the media.

'When farmers engage with the public, people can see for themselves the care and attention to detail that goes into growing quality, nutritious crops and the high levels of animal welfare.

READ MORE: Visitors flock to fields and farmyards for Open Farm Sunday

'This is going to be increasingly important if we leave the EU – British farming will need the full support of the public.'

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LEAF is now calling for more farmers to get involved with the 2019 event on June 9, whose theme is 'get closer to farming' – focusing on the farming families and technical teams involved in producing food while managing the countryside and natural resources.