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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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5 more farm families feature in February episode of Rare Breed

The hugely popular and successful RARE BREED – A Farming Year series has returned to our screens in recent weeks for its eleventh year.

The series follows 12 families as they come to terms with one of the “most unpredictable periods” in living memory.

For more than one decade, the series has taken viewers into the farming world through the lives of farmers across the country.

According to producers, the twelve families featured in the current series “reflect the diversity and innovation” in Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector.

Be it traditional beef, sheep, dairy, and produce enterprises, or social farming, breeding alpacas and sport horses, we see how they face daily challenges and constantly work in all weathers against a backdrop of Brexit, climate change and the War in Ukraine.

After meeting the first five families in the January episode, in February, we meet five more of the families.

Dale and Vicki Byers have a dairy herd of 150 cattle at their farm in Ballinamallard in Fermanagh.

And near Aughnacloy in Tyrone, we meet Paul Beatty, who runs Tirelugan Farm alongside his grandfather, Cecil, and his father, Donald.

We also meet a couple who split their farm between Portrush and Dungannon – Shay O’Neill and Susan Chestnutt.

In Templepatrick in Antrim, we gain insight into the equestrian world with rider and sports horse breeder, Lucca Stubington, who runs the family business with her mother, Georgia.

Also, we re-join Áine Devlin, who featured in last year’s series, a 25-year-old shepherdess who farms in Kilcoo in the Mourne Mountains and also runs her own sheep scanning business.

Finally, joining this year’s Rare Breed are Kathleen and Margaret Finnegan, sisters who run a 56-acre farm in Silverbridge in Armagh.

In 2018, they opened it as a social farm, and they “have not looked back since”.

‘An education in itself’

Tony Curry, programmes editor at UTV, said the series is a “firm favourite” amongst UTV viewers.

He commented that are Rare Breed is “an education in itself.

“It is great that our audience is not only enjoying a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day life of a farming family, but hopefully learning a thing or two they did not know before.”

The series is produced for UTV by Belfast’s Strident Media. Producer Cara Dinsmore said, “This series, just like previous, was a joy to film.”

“I and the crew certainly cannot complain about filming on the odd late night, early start or in bad weather when you realise that this is what our farmers and producers are doing 365 days of the year.”

Strident Media managing director, Kelda Crawford-McCann, added,

“We love making Rare Breed, getting to meet the farmers who produce the food that ends up on tables in Northern Ireland and further afield.”

“This series has a fantastic mix of the traditional with the new – farming is a hi-tech, highly diversified business, and the families’ activities this year are a true reflection of that.”

UTV’s Mark McFadden once again narrates the series, which is sponsored by Dromona and started on Thursday, January 19th, 2023, at 8.30 pm on UTV.

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