Hundreds of curious townies turned up to the McLeod farm on Welcome Bay Road for the annual Bay of Plenty Free Farm Day.
Federated Farmers dairy chair and farm day coordinator Steve Bailey is pleased with the interest shown by the local community.
“We had about 825 people turn up, so pretty happy with that.
“The McLeods have hosted it for the last seven years. It's a good location and nice and handy, having it so close to the city.”
He says about 75 per cent of people who turned up were new people who had never been to a farm day before, as well as people new to the area from Auckland and overseas.
“For many of them it was the first time they've been on a farm, so we wanted to make it a good experience.”
Although the event took place on a dairy farm, some sheep were also trucked in. Steve says it was about showcasing as many aspects of the agricultural sector as possible.
“The kids really enjoyed being able to touch a sheep and watch the shearing display. Many of them said their highlights were milking a cow or seeing the tractors.”
Bay of Plenty sheep farmers Rick Powdrell and David Hodge.
Thousands of people over the past ten years have experienced a slice of farming life thanks to the event, and Steve hopes it encourages a different perspective on the agricultural sector.
“It's an opportunity for people to come a long and see there are actually whole lot of myths about what farming's doing. I'm proud to be a farmer, as every farmer should be. We have an amazing agricultural sector.”
Rotorua MP Todd McClay was among those who turned up to the event. He says it's a great idea, and a way for young people especially to see where their food comes from.
“It'd be great if other parts of the country started doing events like this again, because although that divide between the rural areas and towns/cities isn't as big as it used to be, anything we can do to bridge the gap is a good thing.”
Dave Mack and son Zac, 2, enjoying the farm day.