Talking to the public about agriculture, food production and on-farm environmental work will become ‘more important than ever’ after the UK leaves the EU, Open Farm Sunday (OFS) founder Ian Pigott has said.
Mr Pigott, an arable farmer from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, suggested the annual LEAF event could be used to educate adults and children about how farmers provide ‘public goods’ which can be enjoyed by everyone.
Speaking on Farmers Guardian’s latest Ploughing Through Brexit podcast, which takes a closer look at OFS and its post-Brexit future, he said: “We are going to have a new Agriculture Bill and support is going to be cut, certainly for Pillar 1.
“With [new] support being delivered through public goods we offer, it is really important we make sure the British public understand what those public goods are and the value they can get from them.
“It is not just something which appears out of nowhere, public goods are created by British farmers and growers up and down the UK.”
Jeremy Padfield, who runs a mixed farm near Bath, Somerset, was also a guest on the podcast.
He suggested farmers had a unique opportunity to tell their stories because the referendum had given agriculture a bigger media profile.
“Agriculture is in the most pivotal position it has been for decades with the Agriculture Bill and with Brexit, whichever way that goes,” he said.
“It is a huge opportunity for us to embrace what is going on in the industry. There is a gulf of understanding between consumers and where their food comes from and having an annual open day with Open Farm Sunday provides us with an opportunity to try to bridge that gap.”
The podcast also explores how OFS is targeting children at secondary schools and whether greater exposure to vegan marketing affects their views on farming, plus what farmers can do to get involved on the day.
This year’s OFS will take place on June 9. For more information, click HERE.