FARMERS are being urged to sign up and take advantage of free workshops.
As Open Farm Sunday moves closer, organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are reminding farmers in the North East and Cumbria to get involved and help welcome the millionth visitor on June 17.
Online registration for Open Farm Sunday is now open at www.farmsunday.org and almost 200 farms nationwide have already signed up.
Among them are Christmas Farm, at Longframlington, and Renn Farming, at Belford.
They will be open all day giving talks about animals, crops and the environment.
Visitors will also have the chance to have guided tours of the farms.
LEAF research shows that 80 per cent of farmers who took part last year reported real business benefits including increased sales, better community relations, raised local profile building staff morale and gaining new contacts.
Caroline Drummond, LEAF chief executive, said: “We’re delighted with the response so far and the fact that around 30 per cent of registrants are farmers opening for the first time.
“Since 2006, over three-quarters of a million people have visited a farm on Open Farm Sunday and this year we hope to welcome the millionth visitor.
“So many of our famers are passionate about the work they do and enjoy helping the public understand British food production and modern farming methods .
“This isn’t possible every day so Open Farm Sunday provides a fantastic opportunity for communities to come together.
“We’ve so much planned this year – including new sponsors, resources and workshops, alongside the first national farm pollinator survey –that we want to encourage as many farmers as possible, including those in the North East, to get involved.”
Farms of every size and type can open. It’s up to the farmer to decide how big or small the event is.
To help prepare for Open Farm Sunday LEAF has organised a series of workshops taking place across the country, run by Open Farm Sunday’s team of regional co-ordinators.
Topics cover ideas for visitor activities, how to get your message across to the public, through to health and safety.
In the North East and Cumbria, this workshop takes place at Williamwood Farm, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, on Tuesday, May 1.
For full details and to book a plac, visit http://www.farmsunday.org/ofs12/open/workshops.eb
Farmers interested in taking part in Open Farm Sunday can register online at www.farmsunday.org, where information, advice and support is availalble.