ABP presented 16 teenagers from Northern Ireland with their very own calves at the Balmoral Show recently. They will now rear their Aberdeen Angus cross calves as part of the final stage of a province-wide agri-food skills competition for young people, known as ‘the ABP Angus Youth Challenge’. The winners are 14-16 years olds from Belfast Royal Academy; Enniskillen Royal Grammar; Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt and St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena. They were presented with their calves by Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan, at a special prize-giving ceremony compered by the TV Presenter Paul Clark at the 150th Balmoral Show.
The teenagers will now go on to take part in a skills development programme from farm to fork with ABP. Each team will rear five Aberdeen Angus cross calves through to finishing and then sell their Angus cattle to ABP. The net profit after sale will be shared amongst their group. Each team has been assigned a special project to develop over the next 18 months. Their projects will challenge them to explore innovative and forward-looking techniques and proposals for the future benefit of meat production in Northern Ireland. Congratulating the finalists George Mullan said:
“I wish our four finalist teams well during this exciting stage of the competition. We look forward to engaging with even more young people when we go back out for new entries later in the year.”
Belfast Royal Academy’s team are all urban dwellers. They will be rearing their calves on the farm of the school’s Biology teacher. Their project theme is the Challenges of Farm Finance. Enniskillen Royal Grammar’s team are being supported by the Home Economics teacher. Their project theme is how Angus cattle production can enhance the sustainability of farming in Co. Fermanagh.
The finalists representing Rainey Endowed School have been given the Benefits of Benchmarking and the Contribution of Women to Farm Management as their project. The team are members of Rainey Endowed School’s Agricultural Club and all come from farming families.
St Louis Grammar finalists also have farming backgrounds. They will be working on the concept of Family Farms as a Driver of Sustainable Agriculture. The school’s Geography teacher is supporting them through the ABP Angus Youth Challenge.
The teams’ performance across all aspects of the final stage will be continually assessed to determine the overall winning group and the recipient of a £1,000 cash prize for their school. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producers Group.