UFU unveils latest farmer recruits

Celebrating the launch of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend at one of this year's participating farms Clandeboye Farm are William Thompson, Agri-Manager from sponsors Bank of Ireland UK and Barclay
Celebrating the launch of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend at one of this year's participating farms Clandeboye Farm are William Thompson, Agri-Manager from sponsors Bank of Ireland UK and Barclay

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has successfully secured a total of 21 farms across Northern Ireland for this year’s Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend.

The annual event, which is now well established in its fourth year, will see 13 returning farms and eight new farms opening over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of June.

The initiative was established in 2012 to promote the local agri-food sector to a non-farming audience and to educate the public on the realities of farming and food production.

Each year farmers working across all farming sectors 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.

The farmers taking part this year are:

Acton House Farm – Poyntzpass, Co. Down; Armagh Apple Farm – Portadown, Co. Armagh; Ballycoose Farm – Ballygally, Co. Antrim; Ballylagan Organic Farm – Straid, Co. Antrim; Broglasco House – Limavady, Co. Londonderry; Broughgammon Farm – Ballycastle, Co. Antrim; Buchanan Turkeys – Kilrea, Co. Londonderry; Carnany Farm – Ballymoney, Co. Antrim; Cavanagh Free Range Eggs – Newtownbutler, Co. Fermanagh; Clandeboye Farm – Bangor, Co. Down; Clare Glen Farm – Tandragee, Co. Armagh; Egerton Farm – Lisnavoe, Co. Fermanag; Glenarm Estate – Glenarm, Co. Antrim; Glenballyeamon Eggs – Cushendall, Co. Antrim; The Hill Farm at Glenwherry – Glenwherry, Co. Antrim; Hillstown Farm – Ahoghill, Co. Antrim; Laurelview Farm – Ballyclare, Co. Antrim; Longfield Farm – Eglinton, Co. Londonderry; McIlroy Chickens – Coleraine, Co. Londonderry; Tickety Moo Farm – Killadeas, Co. Fermanagh; Vowgarve Farm – Rasharkin, Co. Antrim

This year’s farms represent the full range of farm types from large scale commercial dairies, to cereal producers, poultry growers, beef and lamb producers, egg farms to organic mixed enterprises. Farm diversity is important to the initiative, says chair of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2015, Barclay Bell:

“We set out back in 2012 to give the non-farming public a small taster of the industry and to demonstrate not only its value to all of Northern Ireland but also the huge diversity which exists within the sector.

“This year will see the greatest diversity ever in the type of farming we can demonstrate to the public which is excellent news for farm visitors and for the industry as a whole.”

The project management team will now be working in the background to deliver training materials to all farms and working with each farmer to help promote their event to the public.

William Thompson, Agri-Manager for Bank of Ireland UK added: “On behalf of Bank of Ireland UK I’d like to thank all twenty one farms who have volunteered to represent their industry this year. Initiatives such as this play an important part in creating awareness of the importance of farming to everyone in Northern Ireland and increasing the value placed on local food production from the general public.

“These twenty one dedicated farmers are playing a huge part in building the future of the industry and we all owe them a debt of thanks for their effort and commitment. We look forward to again welcoming our local communities to Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend.”

This year the popular UFU initiative will be working alongside the Armagh Show which will take place on the same weekend in June in the beautiful surroundings of Gosford Forest Park, near Markethill.

To stay up to date with developments on this year’s event follow Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend on Twitter @boiopenfarm or Facebook at www.facebook.com/openfarmweekend.

For more information on the initiative visit www.openfarmweekend.com