THE role of genetics and grass-based systems in helping reduce carbon emissions from beef farming, and the advantage of marketing Northern Ireland’s family farm tradition and animal welfare standards to today’s consumer were just some of the topics presented by this year’s semi-finalists in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge.
Eleven teams took part in this year’s semi-final and judging took place online due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The schools represented were Bally-mena Academy, which also has another team that has just completed the finalist programme; Cookstown High, which entered two teams; Dalriada School; Enniskillen Royal Grammar, which also entered two teams and is building on the legacy of the 2019 team which was runner-up in the competition; Friends School Lisburn; the Royal School Armagh; St Kevin’s College, Lisnaskea; St Patrick’s Maghera; and finally Wallace High School, which is also a contender for the ‘Overall Winning Team’ from the class of 2019.
Congratulating the participants on reaching this year’s semi-final, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan, said: “ABP would like to congratulate all the semi-finalists for taking part in the competition during an exceptionally challenging time in their school lives.
“I would also like to acknowledge the support of the schools and their families in helping them prepare so well for the judging interviews.”
The teams that will progress through to the finalist programme will be announced in June. For those teams that do make it through, the prize from ABP will be winning five Aberdeen Angus cross calves to rear through to finishing over an 18-month skills development programme.
They will benefit financially from the sale of their calves to ABP and one overall winning team at the end of the programme will also receive a £1,000 cash prize for its school.
The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group. Its General Manager Charles Smith added: “On behalf of the judging panel, I would like to commend all the pupils for their impressive research into Angus beef production and the passion they demonstrated for many aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich farming and agri-food heritage. Notwithstanding the difficult circumstances, ABP and the Angus Producer Group wanted to offer teenagers the opportunity of benefiting from this competition.”
Helping judge this year’s semi-final were representatives from the Livestock & Meat Commission NI and CAFRE.
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