‘Rare Breed – A Farming Year’ returns for a new series with new farms and families and some familiar faces on Thursday, 17th January at 8.30pm on UTV.
Taking viewers into the heart of the farming world in Northern Ireland, Rare Breed’s behind the scenes depiction of the annual farming cycle, and the ups and downs of farming life across Northern Ireland, has proved to be a much loved hit with viewers. Series 6 in 2018 was UTV’s most watched local programme, with an average of 186,000 viewers and an almost 30% share across the 12 episodes.
Filmed in all weathers, this series follows 11 farmers and families from a variety of farms across Northern Ireland over a 12 month period. We follow the producers of cattle, sheep, pigs, apples, eggs, trees and vegetables, and see how our local produce not only ends up on our tables but also how internationally successful it is, worth millions to the economy, providing employment for tens of thousands of people.
In the first episode we meet The Wilson family from Co. Fermanagh. They make a welcome return to the Rare Breed screen having been featured in the first ever series. They are getting bulls ready for sale, which involves a Fairy Liquid shampoo, and serious skill and patience with a camera. We also see how the boys mix studying and working on the farm, as they examine newborn lambs to ensure they are well enough to go outdoors.
We also meet Richard and Selina Beattie from Tyrone who too are in the middle of lambing season. They are kept busy by also running livestock markets.
Part time farmers Gary Hanna and Iain Coleville breed pedigree sheep and cattle in the Newtownards area, and we see how they are managing careers as a lawyer and funeral director with their new found passion.
Moving away from livestock, the first episode also features the McKeever family from Portadown who are apple farmers. We see Dad Pat and son Peter test the soil and prune the trees in preparation for growing season.
Finally in Episode 1, we meet Joel Kerr from Dungannon, who gave up his career in IT to return to the family farm to breed shorthorn cattle. We hear how, he’s not put off by the weather saying, “if you stopped when it got cold, you wouldn’t get much done.”
Other famers in the series include a cattle farmer from Bushmills, vegetable growers from outside Newtownards, sheep farmers from Dungiven and Loughgall, and egg producers from Newtownbutler.
Terry Brennan, Head of News and Programmes at UTV said: “Rare Breed – A Farming Year has become a firm favourite amongst UTV viewers who look forward to the return of the agricultural series each year in our New Year schedule. Rare Breed is unique in that it gives viewers an access-all-areas pass to the people behind one of the island’s biggest industries – on farms both big and small, and I’m sure the series will entertain, educate and delight in equal measure.”
The series is produced for UTV by local independent production company Crawford McCann Television.
Kelda Crawford-McCann, Managing Director of the company said: “We are delighted with the continued popularity of Rare Breed. The year we’ve spent filming with the farmers has been fascinating, with the 12 episodes encapsulating perfectly the highs and lows of the cycle of farming, be it livestock, fruit, vegetables, forestry, or eggs. It’s all there!”
UTV’s Mark McFadden will narrate the series. Sponsored by Dale Farm, Rare Breed – A Farming Year starts on Thursday, 17th January at 8.30pm on UTV.