FARMING'S efforts to reach out the the Great British Public via LEAF Open Farm Sunday have been given a thumbs up by a survey of those who attended.

This has long been the industry’s annual open day, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors on farm every year and this year’s event held last month was no exception, attracting 175,000 visitors, 20% of whom had not visited a farm before and more than half (52%) coming from urban areas.

LEAFs Open Farm Sunday programme has been given a thumbs up by visitors

LEAF's Open Farm Sunday programme has been given a thumbs up by visitors

Visitor feedback shows the true impact of LEAF Open Farm Sunday, with 72% of visitors reporting feeling positive about what the industry is doing to help combat the climate change crisis. In addition, around half (49%) visitors said the visit had inspired someone in their group to consider a career in farming.

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has been managing Open Farm Sunday since it began in 2006 and supported over 250 farmers to open their gates from Jersey through to the Shetland Isles for this year’s annual event, raising awareness about food and farming and offering fun, interactive and informative days on farm for families from all walks of life.

The messages shared by farmers resonated with visitors this year, with 95% rating events as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, 79% said they learned something new about British food or farming and a further 85% reported that visiting a farm on LEAF Open Farm Sunday had increased their trust in British farming.

Annabel Shackleton, the project's manager said: “We are thrilled with the hugely positive impact that we have had this year. 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.

"We’ve once again demonstrated the power of LEAF 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.

"It has been wonderful to read comments from visitors who care deeply about how their food is produced and interested in wider issues around sustainability, climate change and animal welfare. We’re delighted to hear the take home messages this year have been particularly strong surrounding careers and climate change.

A busy Open Farm Sunday event at Hilton of Aldie, Kinross, in June, 2019

A busy Open Farm Sunday event at Hilton of Aldie, Kinross, in June, 2019

"LEAF 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," she added.

"As we progress our plans for next year’s LEAF Open Farm Sunday on June 11, 2023, we will continue to adapt and respond to input from host farmers, sponsors and stakeholders to ensure its continued positive impact as Britain’s leading on-farm public outreach event.”

LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2023 will take place on Sunday 11th June, registrations are already open for farmers wanting to take part: www.farmsunday.org

Strengthening public trust:

• 85% visitors report LOFS had increased their trust in British farming

• 79% visitors learnt something new about British food or farming

• 72% visitors said they felt the farming industry is adapting to help combat climate change

• 56% of visitors reported the farm visit had positively changed their opinion of food production or the farming industry

• 49% of visitors said the visit had inspired someone in their group to consider a career in farming

This year LOFS in numbers:

• 251 farms

• 175,000 visitors

• One in five visitors had not visited a farm before

• 52:48 urban:rural split

• 95% of visitors rated events as good or excellent.