How will three traditional family farms (dairy and hill) near one of the UK's last "market towns", Castle Douglas, fight for survival over a year against the backdrop of the severest Common Agricultural Policy reforms in fifty years?
These reforms mean the entire farming industry is now market driven, 'super market' driven. That means small farms are being squeezed hard...
1 in 10 of all Scottish jobs are agriculture related, and the proportion of landmass under agricultural production means farming is the biggest determinant of the nations landscape. It is a much misunderstood industry - a recent survey revealed that 25% of inner-city primary school children claimed that eggs came from sheep and cows produce potatoes. But it has the fourth highest occupational ratio for suicide.
Castle Douglas is in the area worst affected by Foot and Mouth. Many of the hill farms in the area lost all of their livestock, including the farms we are following in this series. 60% of local dairy farmers failed to meet their costs last year. Many have gone out of production in the last 5 years because the margins on milk and dairy products are so low. These small farming families are used to fighting for survival but can they hold out against new reforms and the supermarket chain planning to set up shop in their own beloved market town?