New research has found that farmers who invite members of the public onto their land are changing the way people think about the industry for the better.

The figures, released by the Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) group, show that 92% of people who visited farms in 2018 reported that they had a greater appreciation for the work farmers do after the visit.

As well as that, 86% of people claimed that they "felt more connected" to farmers.

LEAF, an organisation that promotes sustainable food and farming, organises the annual Open Farm Sunday, where farmers across Britain can invite people onto their land. These figures, released today, January 25, come from the 2018 open day, held on June 10.

Of the people who decided to avail of the opportunity to visit a farm, 78% of them said they would be more actively trying to buy British produce.

"These figures show just how powerful it is when farmers open their farms to the public," according to Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday manager at LEAF.

"There is a high level of interest in food production, but unfortunately we have seen a lot of misinformation about farming in the media," she added.

Shackleton went on to argue that this support for British farming will be even more important when the country leaves the EU.

When farmers engage with the public, people can see for themselves the care and attention to detail that goes into growing quality nutritious crops and ensuring high levels of animal welfare. LEAF Open Farm Sunday is positively changing public perceptions of our industry.

As for the farmers who took part last year, 26% of them opened their farms to the public for the first time - the highest number to take part in the 12 years the event has been organised.

LEAF is urging even more farmers to get involved in 2019, when this year's Open Farm Sunday takes place on June 9.

Views of the visitors

"It has opened up many conversations with the younger people in our family, who now appreciate where their food and drinks come from," said one individual who visited a farm during the 2018 open day.

Another said: "We now look for standards of meat produced and where meat in sandwiches has come from - we buy more free range produce from farmers and markets where there is no middleman."

Farmers who may be interested in being part of the Open Farm Sunday events can go to farmsunday.org to learn more.