Getting a glimpse into the farming life

Television viewers will be able to get a short insight the life of a Moira pig farmer who will star in UTV’s series ‘Rare Breed’, which will be shown this Monday, January 13 at 8pm.

Thursday, 9th January 2014, 1:01 pm

John Tate (33) was followed for one day a month last year by the cameras, and shows the high and lows of his job in what is one of Northern Ireland’s most important industries.

John, who has been crowned Northern Ireland Pig Farmer of the Year twice, has been working on the family run farm on the Moira Road, for the past 17 years.

He trained at Greenmount College in Antrim and is the fifth generation of farmers in his family, a job that he loves.

He runs the 150 acre farm, that includes 280 sows, along with his father George.

“I was brought up on a farm and I love it - I don’t know anything else and don’t think that I would like to do anything else,” said John.

“The first time the cameras followed me was in January 2012 and I admit I was really nervous. They came 12 times during the year to the farm. I have seen part of the finished programme and I might only be on some of the shows for a few minutes, but it gives enough insight as to what I do. I am really pleased with it.

“I think that sometimes, some people view farmers in a certain way but at least this programme shows them in their true light as hard working.

“It follows me from the artificial insemination stage of a pig until the sows go to the factory.”

He said that he hopes that it will also show a different side to farmers.

“A farmer is expected to do quite a lot on a farm a jack of all trades and I don’t think people realise that,” he said. “I might be spreading slurry on the crops or helping to fix a machine.

“The programme itself was good fun and I really enjoyed it. There was only a camera man and a researcher who would ask me questions. You only see my response. The more the cameras came the more confident I got and forgot sometimes that the cameras were even there.

“I hope people will see the lengths farmers go to meet those high traceability standards,” he said.

“Anything that goes wrong can be traced back to the farmer and that is the way it should be.”

Rare Breed’s new series, sponsored by Irwins Bakery will show new farms, new families, new stories and revisits some familiar faces.

The series is produced for UTV by local independent production company Crawford McCann.

Kelda Crawford McCann, Executive Producer said: “Filmed throughout 2013, we see how 17 families try to survive one of the toughest farming years in living memory. Working hand in hand with nature and the weather we see how young and old share in this seasonal rhythm that brings food from the soil to the kitchen table

“Right across Northern Ireland we’ll see the breeders of pigs, poultry, sheep, and cattle; the growers of the grain and grass and the producers of eggs, fruit and vegetables. We’ll discover how our local produce is a now global commodity worth tens of millions to our economy and providing jobs for many of thousands of people.”