Rare Breed returns in the new year

Ricky Cowan with his son Matthew
Ricky Cowan with his son Matthew

UTV has announced the return of its fly-on-the-wall rural series, ‘Rare Breed: A Farming Year’, which will broadcast from Monday, January 11, 2016 at 8pm.

Rare Breed provides an in-depth look into the successes and struggles of farming life in Northern Ireland, throughout a calendar year. A total of 18 farming families are featured from across the island of Ireland, which gives a unique insight into all aspects of farming life from beef, dairy, sheep, pig and poultry farms, to tomato and organic vegetable producers.

Raphoe Farmer Alison McCrabbe

Raphoe Farmer Alison McCrabbe

Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Television said: “Rare Breed – A Farming Year has become a fan favourite amongst UTV viewers who look forward to the return of the agricultural series each year in our New Year schedule. The last series attracted an average audience of 207,000 viewers per episode, which is a testament to how popular this locally produced programme is.

“Rare Breed is unique in that it gives viewers an access-all-areas pass to the people behind one of Northern Ireland’s biggest industries – on farms both big and small. In this series we meet 5 farming families from Ulster with some familiar and new faces. We are delighted to welcome Rare Breed back to UTV in 2016.”

The series is produced for UTV by local independent production company Crawford-McCann. Kelda Crawford-McCann, Managing Director of the company said: “Once again, the Rare Breed cameras have been out in all weathers as farmers worked through storms, freezing weather and beaming sun – from Donegal to Down and everywhere in-between. We were delighted with the success of Rare Breed 2015 and the new series will provide an equally intriguing mix of the highs and lows of farming in Ireland.

“The level of dedication shown by our farming community is inspiring, in what has been a challenging year. Rare Breed has also been an international success, with the series being watched across the world from Greece to New Zealand and Iran to Australia.”

Rare Breed: A Farming Year will begin broadcasting on January 11th at 8pm and will run for 12 consecutive weeks, exclusively on UTV.

In the first episode of the series, we meet Gareth Taylor in County Down who is fitting pedometers to his cows and is worried that he might have to cut milk production as milk prices are tumbling. In Antrim, James Alexander has his hands full as his new flock arrives from Scotland. Meanwhile he is exporting tractors to Thailand. We also meet the McCrabbe family in Donegal, who are breeding a brand new breed of sheep, the Roubek.

UTV’s Mark McFadden returns to narrate the series. Sponsored by Irwin’s Bakery and shot in High Definition, Rare Breed – A Farming Year returns on Monday 11th January 2015 at 8pm.