Go down on the ‘virtual’ farm at Donaghcloney

The popular Bank of Ireland Open farm Weekend is going virtual for 2020 and a Donacloney farm is taking part.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:29 pm
Pictured in Donagh Cottage Farm in Donaghcloney is Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business Manager with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend chairman and UFU deputy president David Brown with sisters Molly (5) and Edith Tumelty (4). Picture by Brian Morrison.

This year’s event, which was originally postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions will now be held virtually from Friday, July 31 to Sunday, August 2.

Although visitors cannot physically attend farms, the online activities shown throughout the weekend on Open Farm Weekend’s social media channels and website will still give the public the chance to connect with up to 18 farms from across the province, including Donagh Cottage in Donacloney.

Online viewers will get the chance to discover the wonderful range of fresh farm produce from Northern Ireland and celebrate our food heroes by interacting online with farmers who have been providing vital food and drink supplies over the last number of months.

Throughout this year’s event there will be a chance to see specific farm activities such as robotic milking, grain harvesting, sheep shearing, virtual farm tours, wildlife watching and potato harvesting, as well as a special programme of live activities.

Led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union, the free Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend initiative, now in its ninth year, has highlighted working farms particularly to those from a non-farming background, showing the story behind our food and helping to cultivate an understanding of quality farming practices.

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.

“The last few months in particular have shown how vital this industry is to the rural communities within Northern Ireland. 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 this year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend provides the perfect opportunity to practically illustrate and educate consumers on how our local food is produced.

“The new online format we are adopting this year will also give farmers the chance to open up their farms to a new audience that could potentially be customers in the future.”

Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend chairman and UFU deputy president David Brown said: “Although Covid-19 has changed the format of this year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend, we believe the virtual activities will still capture its spirt and ethos and ultimately showcase our farming industry and the wonderful work our farmers do. Having the ‘live’ element is an exciting twist to help farms engage directly with the public and show them what it’s really like to live and work on a busy farm. We’re delighted to be able to continue with this new format as it lets us achieve our aim of putting Northern Ireland food and its producers at the forefront of the minds of the consumer. We encourage everyone to get behind Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend 2020 and show farms and farm families how much we value the outstanding contribution they make to the whole community.”