FIFTEEN teenagers from four post primary schools are making their way to Balmoral Show tomorrow (Friday) to receive Aberdeen Angus cross calves from ABP. They are all competition finalists in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge.
The four teams, representing Aughnacloy College, Fivemiletown College, the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Wallace High School, will be receiving five Angus cross calves each to rear through to beef. Each team will go on to sell their cattle to ABP and profit from the sale.
In addition, they will take part in a farm to fork skills development programme lasting 18 months which includes work on research assignments of benefit to the local beef supply chain and sustainable food production.
The prize-giving event will take place on the main cattle lawn in front of their school principals, teachers, and parents. Supporters from each school are also expected to attend. In one case, the entire Key Stage 3 of Aughnacloy College (80 pupils and 10 teachers) will be at the event as a special reward for good behaviour during the year.
Also invited as special guests are industry stakeholders, including representatives from the competition’s judging panel. These include CAFRE, the Livestock and Meat Commission, the UFU, the YFCU, CCEA and Business in the Community NI.
Commenting ahead of the event, George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP, said the company was looking forward to celebrating the success of the schools that had reached the final stage. He commended all the schools that had taken part up to this stage.
“It’s a big commitment on the part of the pupils and their teachers to take part and I would like to acknowledge all the great work that has been done.”
Not all the finalists come from farming backgrounds but common to all is a desire to work in the sector and gain hands-on experience that will be of benefit to their goals.
Several of last year’s finalists, from Belfast Royal Academy, Rainey Endowed Magherafelt, Enniskillen Royal Grammar School and St Louis Grammar Ballymena, will also be in attendance to congratulate their successors and will be at the ABP stand to talk to visitors about their progress.
“I am delighted to report our 2018 finalists are making great progress. Their schools have really got behind the competition and have been involved in many imaginative and innovative initiatives to further their research assignments.”