RTE will kick-off a landmark TV series this evening that aims to increase awareness and appreciation of Irish farming.
Running each night for this week only, Big Week on the Farm, promises to be a fast-paced programme, broadcast live at 7pm from a purpose-built studio on a sheep farm in Westmeath, as well as from farms around the country.
A studio audience will join Ella McSweeney, Áine Lawlor and celebrity guests and reporters for one of the busiest weeks of the year for farmers and their animals with the hope of bringing viewers on a journey to the heart of the Irish farm.
Presenters Ella and Áine, along with location presenters Darragh McCullough and Helen Carroll and celebrity guest presenters, including Roz Purcell, Anna Geary and Nathan Carter, will present the programme.
From lambing, calving, kidding and hatching, Big Week on the Farm will chart the life-cycle of farm animals; providing the nation with real-time access to the world of Ireland’s farming countryside.
what happened my lambing shed.. ???? pic.twitter.com/OahzsOsmPM
— John Fagan (@strawfagan) April 3, 2016
The live studio will be assembled in John Fagan’s lambing shed on the shores of Derravaragh Lake in Co. Westmeath. Fagan is a farmer in his mid-30s, and during the week of broadcast, with his partner Claire Marshall, he will oversee the birth of over 120 lambs.
According to RTE, “The farm is a hub of activity in the heart of Ireland where wildlife and farm-life compete for space and food. Badgers, swans, pine-martens, cows, sheep and foxes all live on his land. With the help of our presenters, experts and hidden wildlife cameras, the covert world of his farm-yard will soon be uncovered.”
Each programme will provide insights into the happenings on other farms too – from a pig farm in Kerry to a high-tech tillage farm in Carlow and a fish-farm in Donegal.
“From the births, the feeding, the vaccinating the breeding, the veterinary interventions, the fixing and mending, Big Week on the Farm will tell the real story of where our food comes from.
“This new series will explore how a new era of farming is emerging, with technology and science innovations, like precision farming and beef genomics transforming the industry,” RTE said.
In addition, Evelyn Cusack, Jean Byrne, Siobhan Ryan and Gerry Murphy will be presenting the evening weather forecast live from the Westmeath farm every night.
Episode 1, RTÉ One, Tonight – April 4th 7pm
Celebrity guests Kevin Thornton and Evelyn Cusack join hosts Áine Lawlor and Ella McSweeney and guest co-presenter Mairead Ronan for the first episode of Big Week on the Farm, live from John Fagan’s farm in Westmeath.
Viewers will learn about the secret life of the cow and follow badgers in their natural habitat and there will be live link-ups with a fish farm in Donegal, as well as live lambing on the Westmeath farm
The show will also preview life on Parknageragh Pig Farm, located in County Kerry.
It aims to provide an insight into pig farming in Ireland and will draw attention to the pig practices and culture on Truly Irish farms.
According to Truly Irish, “What we hope you gain from the programme is Truly Irish’s commitment to surpassing the ordinary.
“Innovation is key to our success and we strive to deliver a healthy product to consumers that can be traced back to farms that have high welfare as their priority. We are always looking forward to new technology and new methods that benefit our consumers and farmers.”