Sponsors unveiled for Open Farm Weekend

Pictured at Clandeboye Farm (one of this year's participating farms), are (L-R) Joe McDonald, Asda; Sheelagh Wynne, NFU Mutual Insurance; Steve Pollard from Business in the Community NI representing The Prince's Countryside Fund; Cookie the Clandeboye Jersey Cow and Barclay Bell, UFU with Caoimhe Mannion from Tesco and William Thompson, Bank of Ireland UK.
Pictured at Clandeboye Farm (one of this year's participating farms), are (L-R) Joe McDonald, Asda; Sheelagh Wynne, NFU Mutual Insurance; Steve Pollard from Business in the Community NI representing The Prince's Countryside Fund; Cookie the Clandeboye Jersey Cow and Barclay Bell, UFU with Caoimhe Mannion from Tesco and William Thompson, Bank of Ireland UK.

Ulster Farmers’ Union have announced a new line-up of sponsors and supporters for their award-winning Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend initiative which takes place this year on the 13th and 14th June.

As well as overall event sponsorship from Bank of Ireland UK, an arrangement which was secured last year for a three year period, the union have confirmed the returning support of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, NFU Mutual Insurance and Asda and are now delighted to have Tesco supporting this year’s event.

The initiative is now gearing up for its fourth year promoting the local agri-food sector to a non-farming audience and educating the public on the realities of farming and food production.

Each year real farmers have volunteered to open their gates to the public to showcase the high quality of their enterprise and to create a greater understanding of the realities of local food production.

Barclay Bell, Deputy President of UFU and chair of the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend Steering Committee said: “We are incredibly grateful to our sponsor Bank of Ireland UK and our supporters for helping to make this initiative possible. Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend has made enormous strides forward since it was established in 2012 and that would not have been possible without the support of these fantastic organisations. As well as financial assistance, they add insight, industry knowledge and new areas of expertise which strengthens the initiative further each year.”

The event has quickly grown to be one of the most popular public events of the summer with the 2014 event seeing almost 20,000 people visiting a real, working farm – many for the first time.

William Thompson, Agri-Manager for sponsor Bank of Ireland UK added: “As overall event sponsor and one of the first corporate partners for the initiative, it’s great to see more organisations getting involved with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend, further supporting the farmers taking part in the initiative and helping to tell the story of local food. The event is vitally important to the future of the farming industry as it helps to nurture respect for farmers and highlights the many benefits the industry creates for Northern Ireland as a whole.”

This year’s event will see 21 farms all over Northern Ireland open for one or two days over the weekend. The full list of farmers can be viewed on openfarmweekend.com and anyone interested in keeping up to date with the initiative can follow the event on Twitter @boiopenfarm or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/openfarmweekend.