Two pupils from the Wallace High School, Lisburn have become 2021 Overall Winners of the ABP Angus Youth Challenge and the recipients of a £1,000 cheque for their school. Emma Turner and Samantha Todd’s award is the culmination of a two-year competitive process against teams from three other schools. It has seen them rear a mini-herd of Angus cross calves through to beef, selling them to ABP for a profit and completing detailed farm-to-fork research assignments. 17-year-old Emma and Samantha’s project was on ‘The roles and opportunities for women in agriculture.
Emma Turner is from Lisburn and Samantha Todd lives in Ballynahinch. “The competition has encouraged and inspired us to work in this amazing industry, so much so that we have both begun relief milking at least three times a week and love every minute,” they said. “We have made lifelong friends, created unforgettable memories, learnt and developed new skills and grown in confidence but alongside this we have developed as young women in agriculture.”
The pupils were notified of their success by the Ireland Ladies Hockey Captain, and ABP Angus Youth Ambassador, Katie Mullan, during a special Awards Show commissioned by ABP which premiered on YouTube recently.
The Runner-up in the competition was Fivemiletown College. This team focused on ‘Family farming systems and their benefit to the community’. One aspect of this work was promoting the importance of supporting each-other’s mental health. Team member, Megan Roberts, was recognised by the judges for composing a poem on the topic.
The Outstanding Individual Achievement Award went to Aughnacloy College team member, Molly Bradley, who is now a student at CAFRE Greenmount. Molly impressed the judges from the outset with her passion and enthusiasm for a future career in agriculture.
There are a further five ABP Angus Youth Challenge teams taking part in the finalist programme currently: Ballymena Academy; Castle Tower School, Cross and Passion Ballycastle; Magherafelt High School and Omagh Academy. In addition, four new finalists teams will receive their calves from ABP and the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group at an outdoor event on 11th June at Balmoral Park.
Commenting on the benefits of the competition to young people, Katie Mullan said, “it is a brilliant opportunity to work as a team on something you care about; learn more about yourself and could open doors for you in the future.” ABP is a leading agri-food business throughout the UK and Ireland with beef and lamb processing sites in Newry and Lurgan. It also operates under joint venture with Fane Valley with respect to Linden Foods in Dungannon.
The ABP Angus Youth Challenge will open for entries again in September 2021. Register interest at www.abpangusyouthchallenge.com