A strong interest in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge is already being reported following its recent launch.
The initiative is being organised by ABP in association with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group. It involves groups of between two and five 14-16-year-olds competing for the chance to win five Aberdeen Angus cross calves as three finalist teams. The teams will then rear their calves through to finishing and benefit from the net profit at sale to ABP.
One overall winning group will be awarded £1,000. To win that top prize, teams can choose to represent their school, club or society or simply enter as a group of friends.
In addition, the competition offers the opportunity for skills development from farm to fork for the three finalist teams over an 18-month programme with ABP which has processing facilities in Lurgan and Newry and employs over 600 people.
The finalists will receive their calves at the Balmoral Show in 2018. ABP has been a platinum sponsor of the show for several years. Last year the company hosted a very successful event for its farmer-suppliers. This involved an exclusive audience with the BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson. Whilst it isn’t revealing what it has ‘up its sleeves’ for the finalists at next year’s show, it is anticipated to be a high-profile event in keeping with a landmark 150th year for the show.
To earn their place at that event, entrants must first produce a three-minute video. The brief for the video is to introduce the group, the school/club or society they represent (if applicable) and then convey their understanding of ABP and the Aberdeen Angus breed, as well the aspects of rural life and/or farming they intend to explore if successful in winning the calves.
ABP is keen to point out that entrants do not have to live on a farm to take part. “ABP will assist in placing the calves if required,” explains Arthur Callaghan, Blade Co-ordinator with ABP. We want to hear from young people with an interest in a career in agri-food production across the board.”
ABP in Northern Ireland is part of ABP Food Group, with 15 locations across the UK and a total of 46 across Europe. Various career opportunities exist for suitable school-leavers and graduates to join the organisation.
“The association with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group in hosting this competition is a natural progression for ABP,” continues Arthur Callaghan. “We have well established links with the Group, operating a successful processing and marketing alliance.”
Also commenting on the partnership with ABP, Charles Smith, General Manager of the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group, said: “Our aim is to develop a strong voice for Aberdeen Angus producers in Northern Ireland.
“In co-operation with ABP, we plan to promote and develop the Aberdeen Angus breed and its benefits as a farming system to beef farmers of the future in Northern Ireland. We intend to do this in a number of ways, one of which will be developing a keen interest among young people, not only in beef production, but also through raising awareness of the quality of Aberdeen Angus beef and the unique and special manner in which it is produced.
“Our experience has been that young, enthusiastic people benefit from the encouragement of their interest in agriculture. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is a platform from which they can express this pride and passion to a wider audience for all that is good about the sector using one of the world’s most popular beef breeds as the focal point.”
Videos with completed entry forms must be submitted to Arthur Callaghan at ABP by the closing date of December 22.
q To download an entry form visit the NI page of the website: www.angusproducergroup.com