Comment: how do farmers engage with the public in this volatile time?

By Gary Ford, chief poultry advisor, National Farmers’ Union

As I drive around the country and visit our poultry members, there is always one topic of conversation I can be sure will come up: educating and engaging with the public.

There is a real strength of feeling in our sector that we need to be engaging with the public to tell them the fantastic story the British poultry sector has to offer.

Clearly we are experiencing one of the most uncertain and volatile times in our recent history, which makes this an even more pressing and important issue than ever before.

Luckily, this month farmers around the country will be opening their gates to the public for Open Farm Sunday. The NFU has long supported this fantastic event as it offers the public a great opportunity to visit a farm and see what farming is all about.

I’m sure many readers will have been involved in hosting a farm visit of some sort or been a part of one in some way or another, and you will know just how impactful – and powerful – visiting a farm and hearing from the farmer can be.

Poultry farmers are incredibly passionate about what they do. How they produce food for the nation, how they take care of their birds to world-leading animal welfare standards and how they protect the environment. It’s why I encourage farmers to take part in hosting an Open Farm Sunday event.

Of course, I respect that these sorts of events are not for everyone. Many of our members will have understandable security concerns or restrictions regarding biosecurity when it comes to opening up their farm in this way. There are however other equally effective ways to get involved.

Whether it is engaging with local schools, your MP or local authorities, there are opportunities to showcase British poultry and the incredibly high standards we operate to.

For the NFU poultry team and the NFU’s national poultry board, engaging with the next generation, consumers, schools and decision makers by promoting what the poultry sector does is a key priority and there has never been a more important time to do so.  


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