Will you take the ABP Angus Youth Challenge?

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge could be a kick-start for teenagers interested in a career in agri-food production and you don’t even have to live on a farm to take part.

The exciting, skills-based competition is open to groups of between two and five 14-16 year-olds and offers the three finalist teams five Angus calves each to rear, as well as the profits made from their sale.

The overall winning team will also be awarded £1,000.

ABP’s Blade Farming co-ordinator Arthur Callaghan said: “Entrants must first produce a short video for the chance to become three finalists teams that will win five Aberdeen Angus cross calves each.

“The teams will then rear their calves through to finishing and benefit from the net profit at sale to ABP. One overall winning group will be awarded an additional £1,000.

“To win that top prize, teams can enter as a school, club, society or as a group of friends.”

The finalists will receive their calves at the 150th Balmoral Show in 2018.

How to enter the ABP Angus Youth Challenge

To earn their place at the final, entry videos should:

  • Introduce the team (and the school, club or society they represent, if applicable);
  • Outline their understanding of ABP and the Aberdeen Angus breed;
  • Explain their thoughts and understanding of rural life and farming;

This will be followed by a panel interview. Interest in the competition can be registered online.

The selected finalists will then benefit from an 18-month skills development programme with ABP, which explains the process from farm to fork.

ABP has processing facilities in Lurgan and Newry and employs over 600 people in Northern Ireland.

‘You don’t have to live on a farm to enter’

“ABP is keen to point out that entrants do not have to live on farm to take part. We will assist in placing the calves if required,” Callaghan said.

“We want to hear from young people with an interest in agri-food production across the board, or from parents, teachers and youth leaders who can register their interest now at the Angus producer Group website.”

ABP has a long-established relationship with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group; operating a successful processing and marketing alliance.

Charles Smith, general manager of the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group said: “Our aim is to develop a strong voice for Aberdeen Angus producers in Northern Ireland – to promote and develop the breed and its benefits as a farming system to beef farmers of the future in Northern Ireland.

“This competition will nurture an interest among young people in beef production and raise awareness of the quality of Aberdeen Angus beef and the special way it is produced.

Our experience is that young, enthusiastic people with an interest in agriculture benefit from encouragement.

“It will promote all that is good about the sector in Northern Ireland using one of the world’s most popular beef breeds as the focal point.”

Farmers of the Future

The first ever ABP Angus Youth Challenge is an evolution of ‘Farmers of the Future’ competition which was launched at Balmoral Show in 2015.

The competition offered younger teenagers – between the ages of 12 and 16 – the opportunity to demonstrate their interest in beef production.

Following a pitch to a panel of industry experts, two winners were chosen. They were 12-year-old Caleb Haffey from outside Magheralin, Co. Down, and 15-year-old Owen McGreevy from Dromore, Co. Down.

ABP Angus Youth Challenge
Caleb Haffey and Owen McGreevy, winners of ABP’s Farmers of the Future competition with Arthur Callaghan, ABP Northern Ireland

The boys were awarded six Aberdeen Angus weanling bullocks to rear and put their theories into practice.

Both had access to advice from ABP’s Blade Farming team and professional veterinary input to help them with grassland management and setting up an effective animal health programme.

Haffey said: “I want to follow a career in farming. At home we milk cows, but we also keep beef cattle and sheep.

“I have a small ewe flock of my own, which is managed as a stand-alone venture and I really enjoy this. But to have the opportunity of managing the six Angus bullocks from weaning through to beef was really a dream come true.”

The results speak for themselves

The boys sold their finished animals to ABP and received the full value of the beef at slaughter. Callaghan visited the farms to help them get as much growth as possible from grazed grass and silage.

“The results achieved speak for themselves,” said Callaghan.

“The final carcass weights reflect a tremendous level of performance, and strong management input on the part of Owen and Caleb, which any specialist beef producer would be proud of.

“Both boys rose to the challenge and I have no doubt that they will continue to benefit from their experience.”

Entry videos for the ABP Angus Youth Challenge should be submitted to Arthur Callaghan at ABP by December 22. Download the entry brochure and an entry form today.