Farmers praised for Open Farm weekend

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen chats with John and Elizabeth Egerton from Fermanagh who participated in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016, also looking on is Joy Rollston, Chair of UFU Rural Affairs committee
DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen chats with John and Elizabeth Egerton from Fermanagh who participated in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016, also looking on is Joy Rollston, Chair of UFU Rural Affairs committee

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen has commended the farmers who participated in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016 at an event held at CAFRE Greenmount to acknowledge their hard work.

Twenty three farms opened their gates and fields on Saturday 18th June whilst on Sunday 19th June, 15 farms participated across Northern Ireland.

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen is pictured with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend participating farmers, at an Appreciation evening held at Greenmount

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen is pictured with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend participating farmers, at an Appreciation evening held at Greenmount

Regular hosts Cavanagh Free Range Eggs in Co Fermanagh, Armagh Apple Farm and Rathmourne Pig Farm opened alongside nine new farm hosts including Cochranes Potatoes in Limavady and star of UTV Rare Breed series, James Alexander in Randalstown.

The DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend 2016 will certainly be one of the highlight events in our 2016 Year of Food and Drink calendar.

“The success of this event would not have been possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of our participating farmers and their families.

“Their willingness to open up their farms to the general public and share their day to day work on the farm, was key to building awareness of the care and dedication that goes into the production of our high quality local produce.

Bank of Ireland UK Head of Agriculture NI William Thompson enjoys the farmer appreciation BBQ with 2016 host farmers Marie and Maurice McHenry from Ballycastle

Bank of Ireland UK Head of Agriculture NI William Thompson enjoys the farmer appreciation BBQ with 2016 host farmers Marie and Maurice McHenry from Ballycastle

“The involvement of the food processors also played an integral role in completing the farm to fork story, allowing the public to taste and buy the food and learn of the importance of buying local.

“I congratulate the Ulster Farmers’ Union and all their partners for the organisation and delivery of this successful initiative and also commend Bank of Ireland on showing commitment to the agri-food industry through their provision of lead sponsorship.

“It is essential that we remain focused on building future resilience and sustainability right across the agri-food supply chain through such initiatives and I am pleased to learn that planning for the 2017 event is well underway.”

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend Chairman and UFU President Barclay Bell said: “We appreciate the Minister coming to our event and adding her support to the initiative.

“It is important we take the opportunity to thank our farmers, and their families, for the time they devote to getting their premises ready for the public. They all make a tremendous effort to ensure members of the public enjoy their visit and get to know more about where their food comes from.”

During the evening, farmers were presented with a commemorative plaque to display on their premises.