Guild members within reach of Hereford have the chance to see an evocative documentary about a new generation of farmers and the highs and lows of the everyday challenges they face.
Titled Tune from the Blood, a reference to the words of Ledbury-born poet John Masefield’s Tewkesbury Road, the documentary results from a year spent filming the lives of Herefordshire Young Farmers’ Club members as they sought to breed the perfect dairy cow, cope with volatile global markets, develop sustainable practices and lay a good hedge.
“These are all part of the rich texture of this intimate, lyrical and often gritty portrait of a new generation of young Herefordshire farmers,” says director Anne Cottringer of Cantilupe Projects. “Their personal stories breathe life into the issues of the countryside at a time when food security is high on the agenda.”
Activities and competitions staged by the Herefordshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs provide a counterpoint to the daily dramas of the farming year.
The film features a young dairy farmer who relishes building the genetics of his herd and enjoys a when he gets it right in contrast to the feelings generated by the constant threat of Bovine TB.
One of the few female livestock auctioneers in Britain shows her love for the atmosphere of a livestock market; a civil engineer explains his alternative career choice and the love of farming that keeps him at home helping run a family farm that cannot support two generations.
“Another young farmer featured in the film shares responsibilities with his father on one of Herefordshire’s most isolated farms in the breathtaking landscape under the Black Hill,” adds Anne Cottringer. “They have to work a balance between environmental and financial considerations and would love to see consumers connecting more with the source of the food they eat.”
With supporting music adding to the atmosphere created by the county’s farming landscape, Tune for the Blood celebrates the connection of these young farmers to the Herefordshire countryside and to the rhythms of the seasons portrayed in John Masefield’s poem.
The documentary is being shown during the Borderlines Film Festival on Sunday, February 26 (7.30pm), Thursday, March 1 (8.15pm) and Wednesday, March 7 (2pm) at The Courtyard, Hereford.