Smart dealers are always looking for new and innovative ways of connecting with their local community of existing and potential customers.
Running your own open day is a tried and tested means. Another route, with a potentially higher profile already in-built, would be to get involved with an established event which is happening in the local area such as a county show.
Similar to this, an idea this year could be to perhaps get involved with an event which has a growing reputation and profile nationally, but which takes place across the country at a local level - Open Farm Sunday.
Hundreds of farms all over the country will open their gates for this LEAF organised event on the 10th June – and the organisers are very keen to encourage specialist dealers, both agricultural and groundcare, to get involved.
As the farming industry’s annual open day, the event offers a chance for the public to discover real farming at first hand and see for themselves how their food is produced.
The organisers are advising specialist dealers to find out which of their local farms are participating this year and to team up to play a part on the day. If your local farmer hasn't signed up yet, say LEAF, why not get in touch with them to see if they are interested in doing so?
Having a stand or a presence at an Open Farm Sunday event contributes to the overall intent of the day, educating the public regarding all aspects of how farming works. Being involved will illustrate how the specialist dealer services the farming community. It will also put your name clearly in front of members of your local community who demonstrably have an interest in the land-based sector.
Speaking at the Service Dealer Conference last November, Caroline Drummond, chief executive of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), said, “After 12 years, Open Farm Sunday has grown hugely, with thousands visiting farms across the UK. There is scope for dealers to get involved, to help provide an insight into how agriculture works and show the technology involved in modern farming.
“This helps educate the public and catch the imagination of children. Inspiring them early tends to capture their interest for life.”
It seems that Open Farm Sunday could represent an excellent opportunity for dealers to raise their profile locally. The organisers would argue that the more involved one gets, the greater the potential rewards.
Since the event began in 2006 over 1600 farmers across the UK have opened their gates and welcomed 2 million people onto their farm for one Sunday each year - with 273,000 of those visiting in 2017 alone.
Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Manager said, “We know from what visitors tell us how important LEAF Open Farm Sunday is in helping them understand the realities of farming and how it impacts on their lives. Last year, one in five visitors were doing so for the first time and 86% told us they learned something new. So we’re calling on everyone to support LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2018 - it offers a perfect platform for everyone to shine a light on what they deliver and why supporting British farming matters.”
In addition to helping grow the public’s understanding of British farming, many farmers make the most of the day by fundraising for charity. In 2017, it was estimated that more than £80,000 was raised at events for charities such as Air Ambulance, RABI, cancer charities, as well as local schools and churches. For dealers to have their names attached to this positive local involvement is surely priceless publicity?
To find out more about where Open Farm Sunday events are happening close to you, visit the website.