Meet our 2018 Finalists
Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt
Theme: The benefits of benchmarking and the contribution of women to farm management
Rainey Endowed run a successful agricultural club at lunch break from school. This helps develop an interest among both male and female students in agriculture. One of the main interests for the female students was the involvement played by their mothers, sisters and women in general in the farm business. Through discussion and research, they discovered that among farm families, many women completed the paperwork. When advising their male partners on issues around the management of the farm, it was challenging to offset the traditional approach to investment. Through systems such as benchmarking, these women found it easier to make their management point clear to their male partners. As a result, the school is helping their family farms to work closer together and consider all viewpoints and value them equally. By discussion among male and female students, they are better able to have an appreciation and understanding of each other’s viewpoint and how on occasion, they may differ.
Royal Grammar School, Enniskillen
Theme: How Angus cattle production can enhance the sustainability of farming in Co. Fermanagh
One of the major influencers to profitable livestock production in some areas is the quality of the land on which the livestock is produced. Some regions, well known for their cattle production, are majorly challenged by the land quality. However, there are management tools such as the breed of cattle used on marginal land that can help improve the overall outcome of that farm. The school in Enniskillen is looking at the suitability of small Angus cross cattle to the marginal land within their area. This discussion and research among their wider farming community is assisting not only the family farms that these young people come from but many of the family farms within their geographical area. Over the summer, the school has been involved in the development of a survey to establish the views of farmers within their area. The students took advantage of the opportunity to visit Clogher Show and hand out questionnaires to establish what farmers in their area were currently doing and to emphasise opportunities available using the Angus breed within commercial herds.
St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena
Theme: Family farming drives sustainability
Sustainability comes in many forms but the ultimate sustainability policy for many farms is to encourage a new generation to carry on many of the farming traditions in a passionate and positive manner. Developing an interest in the family farm at a young age is one of the things that the St. Louis Grammar School finalists believe to be of ultimate importance. They themselves have found a love for farming from their involvement with their parents at a very young age and they have a desire to share this passion. They have developed a programme which they have taken around to primary schools within their catchment area sharing their experience of agriculture and demonstrating the passion and joy it has brought to their lives.
Belfast Royal Academy
Theme: Challenges of farm finance
Coming from a non-farming background but with a degree of understanding of the challenges in financing a business, these students set about researching a system that would ease some of the challenges of financing the development of a family farm. In their research, they found that consumers were interested in having a closer involvement with their food production and had a desire to invest in maintaining certain standards and systems in the production of that food. As a result, they have developed a farm finance package where consumers with money to invest can lend money at an agreed interest rate to their farm colleagues. This will help produce quality beef under a system that those consumers wish to have their beef produced under. The benefit to the consumer is a return on their investment and beef produced in a manner they desire and the benefit to the farmer is receiving finance to maintain his farming system at a reduced rate from that available from the bank.
Take a look at all the action of Prize Giving Day at Balmoral!