No visitors able to go on to farms has resulted in farm tours going virtual throughout the country to share their ways of farming and educate the public, as well as helping with home schooling throughout the UK.

And, like many, last weekend would have been Open Farm Sunday up and down the country, which is a popular conduit between country and town.

But taking the virtual route to open their farm to the public in Jedburgh, was the Jackson family, Kersheugh Farm, who had planned to open up to visitors earlier in the year, but their grand plan fell through due to the start of lockdown. They are now on-line instead.

The Jacksons – Fenwick and Jasmine and the five children they have between them, Cory, Daisy, Fenwick, Grace and Hamish – have come up with a clever way to share life on their farm and help out parents and schools with home learning throughout the UK.

‘Jacksons At Jedburgh’ has been creating videos showing off farming life on their website and on Facebook, going ‘live’ on Facebook every Thursday at 3pm to allow anyone to engage with what goes on a daily basis.

Just south of Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders, is where they have been located since 1971, running 1600 sheep and 300 cows across 435 acres, along with pigs, chickens and not forgetting Border collies.

“We believe that the farming tradition is a vital part of the wider community, which is why we encourage the kids to get stuck in – developing life skills and a sense of responsibility as they spend time with the animals.”

“Our business welcomes families to our working farm so they can share the farm experience and discover the joy of being rewarded with sublime panoramic views of the countryside,” said Jasmine.

This was meant to be the first year the farm was opening for visitors, but Covid-19 put a stop to that, so the team decided since the visitors couldn’t come on farm, they would bring the farm to them.

Jasmine added: “Springtime would have been a great time to begin our project because of all the new life being born, as well as it being Easter holidays for the kids.

“Our plan was to get the kids feeding pet lambs and going on our tour trailer, so that people could get really close to the animals in a safe environment. However, before that even began, everything was shut down. We have now done lots of virtual tours online to let the kids see what is happening on the farm and they can ask questions while we drive around the farm using my phone.”

Although work has continued as normal on the farm, managing it has been different in many ways during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fenwick added: “Getting spare parts for machinery has been difficult during lockdown. We have had a few problems with the Land Rover and couldn’t get any parts in the UK for it.”

“We are also not comfortable getting help on the farm as often as we would, so it has meant we have been a lot busier than usual. If the vet comes out it gets tricky, but we are trying to maintain social distancing, but it’s near impossible at times,” said Fenwick.

“However, for now we hope that everyone stays safe and enjoys our virtual videos, until they can come out and join us on the farm,” concluded Fenwick and Jasmine.

Another family taking to bolstering the wider public’s knowledge of the farming community is Neale and Janet McQuistin, Airyolland, New Luce, under the business name of ‘Kitchen Coos and Ewes’.

They breed Beltex sheep, as well as running a herd of Scotland’s best known breed, Highland cattle. Between them, Neale and Janet have 112 years of farming experience and they want to share what they have learned with everyone! They can tell you everything from the many generations of Beltex bloodlines to the hierarchy within the Highland cattle fold.

Usually occupying visitors with a variety of farm tours, the couple have taken to social media to going ‘live’ and posting videos of their daily routine.

“On our farm tours, customers get up close to Highland cattle and sheep from the safety and comfort of our purpose-built trailer. Our trailer has padded seats and it’s wind and water tight,” said Janet.

Neale added: “There is no need for wellies just grab a coat and come as you are finishing the tour at the farmhouse kitchen for a tea/coffee/juice and home baking, which always goes down well.”

However, this has all been put on halt due to coronavirus, yet they still provide the best they can in trying times.

“We started to post live videos when we were out in the fields checking the cows for new-born calves at 6 am at the beginning of April. The mixture of beautiful sunrises, Highland cows, a cuckoo calling in the distance and new-born calves, were a welcome distraction for many people who were locked down at that time,” said Neale.

Added Janet: “Six o’clock in the morning is a bit early for the UK, but we’ve built up a regular audience from many other parts of the world including Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada, America, Costa Rica and many European countries. We have also built up a strong following in the communities that are close to our farm, which is just brilliant.”

The videos and lives have been a great hit, with a post reach of 142,000 and the engagement for May was 51,000. And their Instagram page ‘Airyolland’ now reaches more than 7500 followers. “We are so thankful that what we are doing is getting so many people involved, we just hope people come and visit when they can, but for now we wish everyone the best of health,” they concluded.