Harpenden farmer aims to be Rural Hero of the Year

PUBLISHED: 08:02 07 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

Ian Pigott wants the public to see life on the farm

Ian Pigott wants the public to see life on the farm

AN INNOVATIVE farmer from Harpenden is up for the title of Rural Hero of the Year. Ian Pigott, aged 39, has been nominated for the Countryside Alliance Awards, an annual event which celebrates the traditions of the countryside through the characters who

AN INNOVATIVE farmer from Harpenden is up for the title of Rural Hero of the Year.

Ian Pigott, aged 39, has been nominated for the Countryside Alliance Awards, an annual event which celebrates the traditions of the countryside through the characters who help it to grow.

Ian, who lives and works on Thrales End Farm, launched a new farming campaign in 2006 called Open Farm Sunday, which gives the public the opportunity to explore their local farm.

Said Ian: "The inspiration came from some Danish farmers I once met at a convention. They told me how they open up their farms to the public and I couldn't wait to get the same thing started in Britain."

He added: "I'm a great believer in getting farmers to reconnect with the consumer. With Open Farm Sunday, I wanted to show people British farming at work and sell them the whole story."

Ananbles Farm in Kinsbourne Green, one of Ian's five farms, hosted the first ever Open Farm Sunday in 2006 and there are now more than 450 British farms which take part each year.

Ian, who also helps organise the Herts County Show, was crowned Farming Champion of the Year in 2007 by Farmers Weekly magazine for his pioneering work and said that he would keep his fingers crossed for the Countryside Alliance Awards next Wednesday, March 18, in London.

But Ian must beat celebrity contenders to clinch the title of Rural Hero of the Year, including journalist Janet Street-Porter, who was nominated for her support of British veal on the TV show The F Word, and star of Clarissa and the Countryman, Clarissa Dickson Wright.

This year's Open Farm Sunday will be on June 7 and, among other attractions, Ian has promised visitors tractor rides and wildlife walks for the occasion.

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