Finalists Big Day at Balmoral 2019

Four teams from local post-primary schools were presented with their own calves to rear by the agri-food business ABP. They are all FINALISTS in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge, a skills development competition for young people interested in working in the agri-food sector.

The teams consist of pupils ranging from 14-16 years old representing two Co. Tyrone schools, Aughnacloy College and Fivemiletown College; along with Belfast Royal Academical Institution and Wallace High School Lisburn.

Each team was presented with five calves by Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan, at a public prize-giving ceremony compered by the TV Presenter Paul Clark at the 151st Balmoral Show.

The finalists will now embark on a farm-to-fork skills development programme with ABP. This will entail each team rearing their five Aberdeen Angus cross calves through to beef and selling them to ABP. The net profit after sale will be shared amongst their group. Each team has also been assigned a special project to develop over the next 18 months. Their projects will challenge them to explore innovative and forward-looking techniques and proposals for the future benefit of meat production in Northern Ireland.

The team of boys and girls from Aughnacloy College will be looking an enhancing animal health naturally; alternative feeds and the reduction of treatments during rearing.

Belfast Royal Academical Institution’s project will leverage their city centre location to connect consumers with food provenance and agriculture. The boys will also be promoting the benefits of beef as part of the school’s sports nutrition programme.

Fivemiletown College as a co-educational rural school will be focusing on family farming and building resilience within rural communities as well as promoting support for locally produced food.

Wallace High School female duo who will be looking at ways of promoting diversity in the sector by highlighting the role and advantages of women in agriculture from farm to fork.

The teams’ performances across all aspects of the final stage will be continually assessed. One overall winning team will receive £1,000 cash prize for their school.

The four finalist teams were selected on the basis of entry by video and panel interview which was then followed by a semi-final exhibition judged by an independent panel of industry experts. Last year’s finalists Belfast Royal Academy, Enniskillen Royal Grammar; Rainey Endowed Magherafelt and St Louis Grammar, Ballymena are due to complete their final stage at the end of 2019. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producers Group.              



Prize Giving Day



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.”