Thousands of farmers across the UK are gearing up to take part in agriculture’s biggest online event of the year, as 24 Hours in Farming launches today.
The pioneering occasion, sponsored once again by Morrisons, takes place from 5am on August 8 until 5am on August 9 and highlights the pride of the nation’s food producers in a bid to show the general public a typical working day through the power of social media.
Following a record-breaking year in 2018 which saw the event reach 114 million Twitter impressions, with more than 5,000 contributors from the world of farming, sport, politics and entertainment threw their support behind #Farm24 to show the vast effort and care which goes into producing the food and drink they consume and countryside they enjoy.
Farmers Guardian has already been inundated with interest from farmers wanting to take part in the event in 2019 and we are calling for continued support from even more farmers, industry allies and influencers to unite and promote all that makes our industry so special.
Sophie Throup, senior agricultural manager for Morrisons, says: “We know our customers really care about British farming and the people who help put food on their table.
"The 24 Hours in Farming initiative gives British farmers and food-makers a platform to share their stories, but also to get the world excited about how we do things at Morrisons. It is an event we look forward to every year.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Katie Anderson runs a mixed farm in Essex and regularly hosts visits on her holding. She has been part of #Farm24 since it began and enjoys sharing the varied activities of her working day with the wider public.
She says: “Most UK residents do not live on a farm and it is our chance to share what really happens and explain where food comes from.
“It helps people put a face to a farmer and that we are not all stereotypes. The images we can share are very special and every year it just gets bigger and better. I cannot wait to show what is going on at my farm.”
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
YOU can take part on any social media platform, although Twitter or Facebook are the most popular channels on the day.
We want to know about your typical working day and any other activities you might be involved in, such as hosting farm visits, welcoming customers, attending meetings and trips, or adopting research and development, to name a few.
Throughout the day, FG will be encouraging engagement by commenting, sharing and collating posts into stories throughout the whole event.
THIS year we are asking farmers to commit to taking part on the day by signing up on our website.
Download your free 24 Hours in Farming poster and either share with others on your farm or send a picture in like the ones above.
FOR the Kershaw family, speaking to new and existing customers, children and the wider public is key to the work they do.
Established in 1840 as a dairy unit, the business has undertaken significant growth and expansion and milk is now supplied into Morrisons supermarkets, schools and nursing homes across Yorkshire.
After hearing about 24 Hours in Farming from their processor Arla, Yvonne and husband Richard decided to support the event and spent the day at their local Morrisons store talking with consumers.
Yvonne says: “We wanted to support 24 Hours in Farming as it is great to talk about where milk comes from and what we do to keep our cows fit and well.
“You still get some people who do not realise we milk twice a day every day, or that cows have to have had a calf before they can give us milk.
“I borrowed a model cow from our local vet practice and used this to stand next to the milk aisle to draw some attention to me. It certainly worked and customers wanted to know what I was doing and where I came from.
“I was able to talk about some of the key facts of milking and cows and to remind customers there are lots of people and stories behind the products that come to their shop.
“We also gave out samples in store of local cheeses, which was a good way to engage with people too.”
Yvonne believes the event is a platform to highlight the good work farmers do to maintain and enrich the environment, which is enjoyed by millions each year.
She says: “As custodians of the countryside, our planting trees and hedgerows for natural habitats have seen an increase in bird and wildlife populations, including birds of prey.
“We can talk about welfare standards for livestock and show the general public how farming works.
“It is great to discuss the provenance of food, road miles and traceability of food that reaches their plates either through farmers markets, farm shops or the supermarket.
“I think we help show how farmers keep the countryside alive and running.”
Villa Farm Shop has been serving local residents for 34 years, selling home-produced milk and eggs, and home-made cakes. The shop has since expanded to include a butchery and delicatessen, along with a 40-seat coffee shop to serve home and locally produced food.
Yvonne says: “Supporting local events and visiting schools and talking to children about the fact that milk comes from cows and not from a bottle on the shelf of a fridge or that eggs are from hens and not a box of six, has opened the eyes of children and adults alike to the local environment around them.
“The 24 Hours in Farming event has huge potential to reach new audiences and educate them about where their food comes from and we are proud to be supporting it again this year.”