Gorey Community School announced as 2022 Certified Irish Angus School Competition winners
Gold Cup winning jockey Rachael Blackmore inspires students with career advice at prestigious awards ceremony in Croke Park
Friday 1st April: Today, four students from Gorey Community School were announced as the winners of the 2022 Certified Irish Angus School’s Competition at an awards ceremony which took place at Croke Park. Winners Eoin Kelly, Caoimhe Crean, Caoimhe Horan and Pádraig Kinsella impressed the judges with their approach to the prestigious calf-rearing competition, which is now in its eighth year. During the competition, the winning group researched the benefits of the 3 E’s (environmental, economic and ethical) of Certified Irish Angus breed, while also developing a recipe booklet to educate the local community on the sustainable breed.
Opening the event, Charlie McConalogue Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “ The Schools Competition is such a wonderfully creative and innovative initiative. It has captured the imagination of the farming and non-farming communities over the years. At a time when there are growing demands from consumers around the provenance of their food, the Certified Irish Angus Schools Competition is an important bridge between the producer and the consumer. It also tells as tremendous story of the quality of animal we are renowned for producing and the incredible care our world-class farmers take of their animals.”
Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Rachael Blackmore was the special guest at this year’s awards ceremony. Rachael, who hails from a farming background and has strong family links to farming, shared her experience of growing up on a farm; detailing how this positively impacted her love for animals, career and sporting achievements through instilling a good work ethic that allowed her to reach dreams beyond her wildest imagination.
About the Competition
The Certified Irish Angus Schools competition, created by Certified Irish Angus, ABP and Kepak, challenges students to rear five Irish Angus calves for beef production. It aims to promote the Certified Irish Angus Beef brand while communicating the care and attention required to produce quality beef for consumers.
Announcing the winners, Charles Smith, General Manager, Irish Angus Producer Group said, “We are thrilled to be back in Croke Park this year for a physical event which provides a great opportunity for the agri-industry to engage with the next generation. The students gathered here today display immense maturity and knowledge of the agri-food sector and it is an honour for us to host them.
Gorey Community School are well deserved winners of this year’s competition. The fact that one of the winning team is not from a farm but possesses a deep respect for farming and all things rural, demonstrates the strength of the community this group come from. The enormous respect for the farms and the traditions they come from was evident in their approach and execution of this project. The quality of the projects carried out by all students is hugely encouraging for the future of farming and the Certified Irish Angus competition”.
The Winning Project
The winning school researched the environmental, economic and ethical benefits of producing Certified Irish Angus Beef. As part of their project the group conducted a survey with dairy farmers which showed promising results for the consideration of using the Certified Irish Angus breed in dairy farming. They took on the challenge of educating farmers about how they could increase the economic value of a dairy-bred calf by using an Irish Angus sire and organised a number of events aimed at farmers to spread the message. This interesting message was spread among the Gorey community by creating a Certified Irish Angus recipe booklet which was distributed in the local Tesco store.
The runners up in the 2022 competition were Grace McKeon and Jane Carty from Carrick-On-Shannon Community School, Co.Leitrim. The students explored the theme of “Health and Safety on Beef Farms” which helped the students to better understand the impacts farming can have mentally and physically. As a result, the team created an emergency details sheet for farmers and a traffic light system to engage with children and notify farm visitors of the dangers in areas of the farm.
Outstanding Achievement by an Individual Award
Conor Farrell from The Abbey School, Tipperary Town was awarded an outstanding acheivement award, recognising his contribution to the competition. The judges said he demonstrated “an ability to understand new beef farming technology and explain its advantages to others in a practical and logical manor which was impressive”.
The organisers are currently in the process of selecting five new schools from a shortlist of 35, who presented their project ideas at the Croke Park event today. The judges included representatives from right across the agri-food industry ABP, Kepak, Tesco, Hilton Foods, Teagasc, Bord Bia, Agri aware, IASTA, Slaney Foods, Certified Irish Angus Producer Group, Ballymaloe Foods, NPA, JM Foods, Irish Farmers Journal, Dromoland Castle, ICBF, previous competition winners. The five schools who best demonstrate an understanding of the project along with innovative ideas will be announced in September and will receive their calves at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2022.