The five finalist schools of the 2015 Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition were presented with their five Angus X calves at the Ploughing Championships.

RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan presented the calves to the five schools at the Irish Angus stand this evening (September 23).

The competition is run by the Irish Angus Producer Group and its processor partners, ABP Ireland and Kepak Group.

The competition in its second year has become phenomenally popular with double the amount of schools applying in 2015 over 2014.

The competition is designed to encourage young people to study Agricultural Science for their Leaving Cert and give a strong basic understanding of farming for future life.

In total, there are 18 students involved from the following schools:

  • Two girls from Presentation Secondary School, Loughboy, Co. Kilkenny.
  • Four girls from Our Lady’s School, Terenure, Dublin 6W.
  • Three boys from Ballymahon Vocational School, Ballymahon, Co. Longford.
  • Four girls, one boy from Coláiste Mhuire, Buttevant, Co. Cork.
  • Four boys from Salesian Secondary College, Copsewood, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick.

It also offers a unique opportunity to students from outside the normal agricultural environment to gain an understanding and insight into what is involved in the production of their food.

The calves will be taken home to the students’ family farms or to prearranged farms where they will be reared by the students for the next 18 months up to slaughter.

Students will look after the animals and use the experience they gain in doing so to help in the completion of their Ag Science project and assist them in putting into practice the theory they will learn in the classroom.

A final presentation of the successful students’ projects will be made to a panel of agricultural, beef and food industry experts where an overall winner will be selected.

The students will make reports at set milestones through the lifetime of the animals and will visit farms, processing and retail facilities to gain an understanding of how each relies on the other.

Students will benefit fully from the financial gain derived from the production of the cattle. One school will be chosen as the overall winner and receive an additional €2,000 payment towards their further education. The competition has a total prize fund of €15,000 per annum.