51 teenagers from across Northern Ireland will be showcasing their knowledge about NI Angus beef production at the ABP Angus Youth Challenge Semi-Final event at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus, Cookstown on Friday 8th March.
13 teams, representing a broad cross section of schools, have been shortlisted to compete at the exhibition in front of an independent panel of industry experts. They will present their innovative approaches and creative thinking on Angus beef-related themes and the promotion of ABP beef products.
To reach the semi-final stage, the teams had to produce a video and then attend a panel interview. They will now have to convince the judges about their knowledge and interest in beef production and working in the sector.
Commenting on the forthcoming event, George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland said,
“The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is about looking to the future of Northern Ireland’s meat production industry. As a leading employer in the sector that also does business with around 5,000 farm families, the competition gives us an opportunity to connect with young people at the stage of their education when they are making career-path choices.”
“There will be a mix of girls and boys competing from rural and urban backgrounds, aged from 14 to 16 years old. A key point about the competition is that you don’t have to live on a farm to take part. Common to all the semi-finalists is an interest in working in the sector,”
The judging panel is made up of representatives of the agri-food; education and community sectors including CAFRE, NIMEA, NIFDA, LMC, YFCU, CCEA and Business in the Community (NI).
The schools that are selected to progress to the final stage will then be presented with five Aberdeen Angus cross calves per team at a high-profile public event on 17th May at Balmoral Show.
They will then go on to rear their calves, profiting from their sale to ABP over an 18-month skills development programme that will cover insights into beef production from farm-to-fork. One overall winning team will then win a further £1,000 cash prize for their school.
The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group. General Manager, Charles Smith said,
“The success of the first year of the ABP Youth Challenge has created a real buzz with the NI schools’ community. We are delighted to have participants from every county at Loughry this year. The standard of entries was very high. They should all be very proud to have reached this far.”