Farm gates are opened for special weekend

Published: 28 Jun 2012 13:000 comments

The people of Fermanagh donned their wellies and got 'down on the farm' last weekend to show their support for the first local Open Farm Weekend.

Jim Wilson and David Scott from Ely Lodge, near Monea, are shown around the farm by Gareth Grey.

Organised by the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU), Open Farm Weekend had 13 farms across Northern Ireland including Oghill Farm in Killadeas, home of Tickety Moo ice cream opening up their businesses and inviting the public along free of charge for a weekend of family farming fun, all with the aim of highlighting the story and hard work behind local food.

John Thompson of the UFU explained; "We are thrilled with the success of Open Farm Weekend, which, despite the unpredictable weather, brought people into the outdoors in their droves to find out more about our fascinating farming sector.

"We had 13 very different farms participating in the weekend showcasing our rich and varied agri-food sector; from dairy to arable, beef to apple orchards, mushroom farms to pork; and each farmer made their own event truly unique. The public seem to have really grasped the purpose of Open Farm Weekend as feedback from farmers tells us there was a real interest in exploring how the food cycle works - from 'field to fork'. Visitors to farms were able to not only see behind the scenes and enjoy the various family activities, but often sample the end product - which we hope will make them think differently when they next buy local."

Activities at Oghill Farm in Killadeas included viewing the state of the art technology used on the farm such as the robotic milking system and other key elements of the dairy production process in action.

"We would hope that going by the success of this first Open Farm Weekend, several more farmers will show an interest in taking part so the event can grow and develop again next year. We would be keen to make this a key event in not just the agricultural sector, but the Northern Ireland events calendar as a whole, which farmers and families will look forward to supporting year on year."

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