Tag Archives: MyFarm

National Trust MyFarm Experiment To Go Free

The National Trust has announced that one year on from the launch of its innovative and award-winning MyFarm project, the charity is dropping the £30 sign-up fee in a bid to widen its success and inspire even more people to engage with farming and food.

The experiment – based at the Trust’s 1,450 acre Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire – was launched last May to encourage people to learn about day-to-day farm life and get a better understanding of where their food comes from.

The virtual farmers are able to view day-to-day farm activities via blogs from the farm team, videos and live webcams. Significantly they can also influence what happens on the farm by voting on key decisions usually made by the farmer.

As the project moves into year two, the team behind the project are seeking to increase the number of people who take part in MyFarm, and cover
a wider range of food topics.

Farm Manager Richard Morris said: “We’ve learnt a lot from our 5,000-strong audience over the last 12 months, especially how interested people are in following and finding out about the day-to-day running of the farm.

“The experiment has helped us deepen people’s understanding of the challenges faced by farmers in the wider market place including the European and World markets, and enabled those involved to comment on a wide range of farming issues.

“It’s been the animal stories that have really captured the public’s hearts – both births and deaths. MyFarmers have also loved getting to know the farm team, the rare breed animals kept at Wimpole and the monthly votes which explore one particular aspect of farming in more depth, with the majority vote then carried out on the farm.”

The National Trust is the country’s biggest farmer and through MyFarm hopes to help people understand the issues facing farming today, the numerous and daily decisions farmers have to make, as well as the joy and the heartache which is part and parcel of farm life.

As part of the changes the Trust will also now host the experiment on its own website rather than the current microsite. It will also make broader use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with users and to encourage further discussion on food and farming issues.

Founding Farmers – those who joined in the first year – will be invited to continue as ambassadors on these platforms to encourage more people to join in; sharing the journeys they have been on over the last 12 months.

MyFarm Project Manager Andrew Cock-Starkey added: “Our members come from all over the world as well as from the UK and after a successful first year we believe we’ve established a clear demand for this kind of learning. Now we want to reach even more people and build a broader understanding of farming.

“Waiving the membership fee will, we hope, help us reach a much wider audience, as will ensuring we have appealing content for users of different ages across various platforms.”

Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union Meurig Raymond said: “This project is an effective and fun way of engaging people in farming and the hard work and skill that goes into producing food for their table. With more and more people using social media to communicate, share views and influence decisions MyFarm also tackles some of the more serious issues and involves its supporters in the day-to-day running of a real-life farm.”

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust’s MyFarm Experiment Extends to Include Conventional Farm Methods

The National Trust has announced that a 250 acre conventional farm is set to become part of the MyFarm* experiment which aims to reconnect people with where their food comes from.

The farmland will form a key part of MyFarm project which enables members to make decisions on what happens on the farm.

The arable land at Cambridge Road Farm is next to the 1,200 acre Wimpole Home Farm which is at the centre of the MyFarm project in Cambridgeshire.

Owned by the Trust, Cambridge Road Farm has always been farmed conventionally by a tenant, who has now retired.

Its inclusion in the project means that participants will be able to get closer to both conventional and organic farming methods.

Richard Morris, Farm Manager at Wimpole, said: “This is an exciting development for the project as we can now explore the differences between organic and conventional farming methods rather than simply talking about them.

“With only four per cent** of farmland in the UK farmed organically we felt it was important to demonstrate the different benefits and challenges presented by each method.

“We’ll be asking the MyFarm members to make decisions on the conventionally farmed land in addition to the 1,200 acres of organic farmland at Wimpole.

“We hope to make the differences and reasoning for both farming methods clearer and easier to digest. Whatever scenario the MyFarmers are presented with, we will be relying on them to make sure their decisions lead to both farms being profitable businesses.”

Paul Hammett, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Farmers Union, said: “The MyFarm community will now have a fantastic opportunity to run the farms in parallel and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both farming methods. It will be really interesting to see how their views and attitudes change, if at all, over the coming months.”

For more information and to sign up to join the MyFarm experiment visit www.my-farm.org.uk.

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust Reveals Consumers Need A Leg Up With Farming Knowledge

The National Trust has revealed the results from a new survey* which show that the vast majority (93 per cent) of people in Great Britain don’t know the best time of year to enjoy eating British lamb.

Only seven per cent of respondents correctly identified autumn as the time for tucking into one of Britain’s favourites, with half (49 per cent) choosing spring as the best time to serve lamb – the time of year when most lambs are born.

The research marks six months of the National Trust’s mass on-line MyFarm experiment at its 1,200 acre organic farm at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire.

The innovative project aims to involve people in farming and where their food comes from by enabling them to make decisions on a real working farm.

An online straw poll of the MyFarm community revealed that 19 per cent knew the best time of year to enjoy lamb – more than double the outcome of the wider non-subscriber survey – suggesting the experiment is making useful progress.

Richard Morris, the National Trust’s Farm Manager at Wimpole, said: “Eating lamb when it’s in season ensures consumers can enjoy the meat at its best.

“Lambs born in the spring feed outside on grass throughout the summer resulting in really flavoursome and tender meat.

“The lamb we see on our supermarket shelves in the spring is either shipped in from abroad, or has been barn-reared out of season without the benefit of maturing and developing naturally on grass.”

Other results highlighted consumer confusion over hogget (a mature lamb between one and two years old) with only 16 per cent of respondents aware that hogget is meat from sheep.

It also revealed only 40 per cent of Britons buy British lamb with 21 per cent buying its New Zealand relation and 16 per cent just indiscriminately selecting whatever is on the supermarket shelves.

By contrast, 51 per cent of MyFarm subscribers could identify hogget – three times as many as the wider survey – and 63 per cent brought British lamb.

Richard Morris added: “The National Trust is the country’s biggest farmer – more than 80 per cent of the 250,000 hectares of land under our care is farmed in some way and we see it as our role to re-connect people with farming and to encourage them to care more about where their food comes from.

“We can do this via experiments such as MyFarm which lift the lid on the realities of farming in the 21st Century.”

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust Announces Live Foaling at MyFarm

The National Trust has revealed that it will be broadcasting the birth of a foal live over the internet as part of its MyFarm experiment.

Queenie, the only Shire Horse mare at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire is preparing to give birth, and the live streaming – which can be viewed now – is a key part of the MyFarm project, which aims to reconnect people with the realities of farming. It is the first major birth on the farm since the project started in May, and it was a huge decision to broadcast it.

Richard Morris, farm manager, said: “There’s no guarantee the birth will be straight forward, particularly as Queenie had a miscarriage last year and a previous foal had to be put down due to a deformity. We don’t want to hide people from the risks involved – it’s fundamental to our purpose in reconnecting people with the realities of farming to allow the possibility of lows as well as highs. If all goes well, MyFarm Farmers will be able to name the foal and so on, but not until it’s a few days old. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but that’s reality.”

Shire Horses are increasingly scarce with only 900-1,500 breeding females currently in the UK**, and while they are no longer a core part of the working operations on the farm, this birth is a significant moment for the entire breed and for Wimpole’s work with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

With no way of knowing exactly when Queenie will foal, a webcam*** has been installed in her stable and MyFarm Farmers will be able to watch the whole birth as it unfolds, live on the MyFarm website. Infrared lighting is being installed to ensure that viewers will still be able to see the birth, even at night.

In the meantime, Queenie is being carefully monitored by Wimpole horse manager, Emma Warner.

Queenie will be looked after 24 hours a day until she gives birth and the farm’s vet will be on stand by in case he is needed.

Viewer can keep up-to-date with how Queenie is doing and watch the foaling live on the MyFarm website.

Via EPR Network
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