Four teams from local post-primary schools have been presented
with their own calves to rear by the agri-food business ABP. They are all finalists in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge, a skills development competition for young people interested in working in the agri-food sector. The teams consist of pupils ranging from 14-16 years old representing two Co. Tyrone schools, Aughnacloy College and Fivemiletown College; along with Belfast Royal Academical Institution and Wallace High School Lisburn. Each team was presented with five calves by Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan, at a public prize-giving ceremony compered by TV Presenter Paul Clark at the 151st Balmoral Show. Check out our video of the event here
The finalists will now embark on a farm-to-fork skills development programme with ABP. This will entail each team rearing their five Aberdeen Angus cross calves through to beef and selling them to ABP. The net profit after sale will be shared amongst their group. Each team has also 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.
The team of boys and girls from Aughnacloy College will be looking at enhancing animal health naturally, alternative feeds and the reduction of treatments during rearing.
Belfast Royal Academical Institution’s project will leverage their city centre location to connect consumers with food provenance and agriculture. The boys will also be promoting the benefits of beef as part of the school’s sports nutrition programme.
Fivemiletown College, as a co-educational rural school, will be focusing on family farming and building resilience within rural communities as well as promoting support for locally produced food.
Wallace High School female duo who will be looking at ways of promoting diversity in the sector by highlighting the role and advantages of women in agriculture from farm to fork.
The teams’ performances across all aspects of the final stage will be continually assessed. One overall winning team will receive £1,000 cash prize for their school.
The four finalist teams were selected on the basis of entry by video and panel interview which was then followed by a semi-final exhibition judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Last year’s finalists Belfast Royal Academy, Enniskillen Royal Grammar; Rainey Endowed Magherafelt and St Louis Grammar, Ballymena are due to complete their final stage at the end of 2019. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group.