Farmers feature in ‘Rare Breed - A Farming Year’

Joel Kerr from Dungannon.
Joel Kerr from Dungannon.

‘Rare Breed – A Farming Year’ returns for a new series with some familiar faces this Thursday, January 17 at 8.30pm on UTV.

Among the 11 farming families featured are Joel Kerr a native breed cattle and sheep farmer from outside Dungannon, and Richard and Selina Beattie from Omagh who manage local marts and breed pedigree sheep and cattle.

Richard Beattie and Valais black nose sheep.

Richard Beattie and Valais black nose sheep.

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.

We meet the local farmers in the first episode, with Richard and Selina scanning their pedigree Valais Blacknose sheep for pregnancy. Originally from Switzerland, with black noses and distinctive markings, Richard claims they are the ‘world’s cutest sheep’.

Joel, who gave up a career in IT to return to the family farm, breeds Shorthorn cattle , and works very hard to ensure they are bred as healthy as possible. Meeting him in January, he comments working in the harsh winter weather, “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, egg producers from Newtownbutler, and apple growers from Portadown.

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 award-winning 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 at 8.30pm on UTV.