15 pupils from four post Northern Ireland primary schools have reached the final stage of a farm-to-fork skills development competition. They are: Co. Tyrone schools, Aughnalcoy College and Fivemiletown College; the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) and Wallace High School, in Lisburn.

The four teams will now go on to receive five Aberdeen Angus cross calves each at the Balmoral Show as part of the final stage in the 2019 ABP Angus Youth Challenge. As well as having to rear their own calves, they will then profit from their sale to ABP, whilst taking part in an 18-month skills development programme.

The finalists have also been given special research assignments in support of the local beef supply chain.

 ABP is an integrated agri-business which employs 10,000 people across 35 sites including two in Northern Ireland, which are based at Newry and Lurgan. As a Platinum Sponsor of the Balmoral Show, ABP will take the opportunity to present the teenagers with their calves in front of the visiting public to the Show on 17th May.

One overall winning team will receive £1,000 for their school at the end of the final stage.

 Congratulating the finalists during a training day held at ABP Newry recently, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan said,

“We have a mix of city and rural-based pupils in the final stage, not all of whom come from farming backgrounds. ABP is looking forward to working with these pupils during this exciting phase of the Challenge. They will be supported by ABP’s Blade Farming expertise and the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group as they progress.”

 The finalist teams were selected from of a total 13 schools who competed at the semi-final event in Loughry College back last month where they were judged by representatives from leading agri-industry and educational organisations.

“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm this initiative is attracting from teenagers who have an interest in working in our sector. It takes considerable time and commitment on behalf of the pupils and their teachers to participate. So I would like to commend all the schools who competed this year for the very high standard of entries. Thank you also to their school communities for supporting the competition.”