1 Mar 2009

Farms open to the public for a day

6:21 am on 1 March 2009

The country's biggest farm is among those which will welcome the public onto their properties on Sunday as part of a campaign run by Federated Farmers to help re-connect urban and rural communities.

Molesworth Station is one of the 27 farms that will open its gates to city dwellers, in a bid to encourage them to re-connect with their rural roots.

The station sprawls over more than 180,000 hectares between Marlborough, Nelson and Canterbury.

Manager Jim Ward says the station work buildings are being be opened up, staff will provide activites and demonstrations and are ready to answer questions. For an extra charge, visitors will be offered a helicopter ride over the area.

Visitors are to be escorted in by Landcorp staff, because of an increased fire risk at this time of year.

Federated Farmers says 30 years ago rural New Zealand made up a quarter of the population, but that has now fallen to about 14%.