We were thrilled to be invited to appear in Escape to the Country’s visit to Dumfries & Galloway, which was broadcast on BBC1 yesterday. We have taken part in a few TV programmes over the years, but have to admit that we always have mixed feelings about media opportunities. Going on the principle that no publicity is bad publicity we rarely turn it down, but wait warily to see how we are portrayed.
As soon as we met Sonali Shah and the Escape to the Country production team, we knew we were in good hands. It was great to see our scenic region shown so beautifully on national television, and of course it was lovely to see our farm portrayed so positively.
Sonali was the perfect foil for us. Brought up vegetarian, she had recently tried veganism but found she couldn’t quite give up cheese, so she genuinely wanted to understand all the issues around dairy and whether there really can be such a thing as an Ethical Dairy?
It was one of the most exhilarating days I’ve had in a long time. We covered it all – biodiversity loss, net zero, cow and calf welfare, slaughter-free dairy, artificial insemination, the longevity of cows, why dairy calves are usually separated from their mothers, pasture fed versus grain fed cattle, human health and probably most importantly of all – how do you communicate the complexity of it all to the general public, when the over-riding media narrative is that red meat and dairy are bad.
So thank-you Sonali for asking all the probing questions, for being so sincerely interested in the realities of rural life and for exploring with us the many opportunities for farming to make a positive contribution to the challenges society faces.
Escape to the Country Series 21:45 Dumfries & Galloway can be viewed on BBC iPlayer for one month