Open Farm Weekend, which takes place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June is delighted to announce that Bank of Ireland is continuing its title sponsorship of the province-wide agri-food initiative.

Led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the initiative, now in its 9th year, seeks to reconnect the public with where their local food comes from and offers an opportunity to meet the farmers and processors who produce it.

Edwin Poots, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said: ‘It is vital that we as an industry help to educate and make consumers aware of the work of the agri-food industry and share how our high quality, nutritious and award winning food is produced. My Department’s continued support in the delivery of Open farm Weekend helps meet that task.

“I thank the Bank of Ireland for their continued commitment to this important initiative, to the Ulster Farmers’ Union in leading delivery along with all the other supporting partners. To the farms that are participating, I know that it can be daunting opening up your farms to the general public but I commend the hard work and passion that the host farms put into making the weekend so successful.”

To date over 100,000 people, including children via the schools programme, have visited working farms in Northern Ireland to hear the story behind our food and gain an understanding of our world-renowned, quality farming practices. Visitors also gain insights into how the countryside is being shaped and cared for and the current strength of Northern Ireland’s ‘food tourism’ potential.

Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business Manager, said; “Bank of Ireland is committed to supporting all agri-food related businesses through a range of products and services. We understand how vital this industry is to the rural communities within NI. The growth and prosperity of the wider NI economy also relies heavily on a thriving agri-food industry. Now more than ever, consumers are keen to learn about where their local produce originates from and we believe that Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend provides the perfect opportunity to practically illustrate and educate consumers on how our local food is produced. It also provides a fantastic opportunity for farmers who are keen to showcase their business and build relationships with people from their local community.

“Our support demonstrates our commitment to the local agriculture industry. We know the hard work that farmers put into running their businesses and initiatives like Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend help to engage with the public and encourages more support towards local produce, which in turn benefits the farmers.”

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend chairman and UFU deputy president David Brown added; “We are delighted that Bank of Ireland recognises the importance of this initiative and we are indebted to them for their continued support. To have their backing helps us to plan ahead, build on our brand awareness and attract new audiences to want to visit our participating farms. Their support has allowed this fantastic event to grow and we are thrilled to see new host farms continuing to come on-board for 2020.

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend was established in 2012 to showcase our farming industry and the wonderful work our farmers do. Its focus is to help the public, particularly those from a non-farming background to better understand how our food is produced and to raise awareness of how supply chains work, through our local food industry.  The passion and enthusiasm, shown by farm participants over the years, not only for farming but also for the whole experience of opening up their farms for Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend has been truly inspirational.”