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.”



13 schools and a total of 51 teenagers reach 2019 semi-final

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.”

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