Milk now sells for less than the price of water and dairy farms are closing, rapidly, currently at a rate of nearly one a day. It’s a relentless struggle for farmers to stay afloat and their devotion to their land and animals does not always guarantee success. Channel 4 has commissioned a 4×60 series that captures the hidden rural dramas that take place every day across our land.
A Year on the Farm, produced by KEO West, has exclusive access to four family farms that provide a rare insight on the significant financial risks farmers are taking to rear high quality produce, using some of the best practice available. The series reveals the magical world of cows, sheep, pigs and poultry by filming for a year in farms from Essex to Glamorgan, Cumbria to Sussex.
Farms occupy two-thirds of the land in Britain but the farming culture and way of life are little known about by the UK’s urban population. As well as market challenges farmers face, there are other threats to their livelihood and livestock such as the outbreak of disease that would destroy a farm to a snow storm that could kill hundreds of sheep. There’s a lot that could go very wrong, very quickly and have devastating effects.
In spite of these challenges the series reveals the incredible beauty of these farms and the quirky, surprising nature of the animals. These farmers are steering away from the mass produced, industrialised farming techniques that are typically used to supply produce to our supermarket shelves. Instead they are opting for a more holistic and ‘closer to nature’ approach.
The programme is overseen by Channel 4 Documentaries Commissioning Editor Michelle Chappell, the Exec Producer is Kari Lia.
Chappell said: “A Year on the Farm shows a world of farming we often don’t see from the farm gate. These are family farmers committed to quality, and the clear working bond between the animals and their owners is extraordinary. Who knew cows line up to be milked and turkeys give back chat?
Kari Lia, Exec producer on the show says: It’s an incredible privilege to be let inside this unique world – a million miles away from the urban hustle. Our farmers’ relentless dedication and hard graft of is truly inspiring.
The programme will air later this year.