Schools take part in training day in advance of receiving animals at National Ploughing Championships in September
15th May 2018: Six groups of second-level students from right around the country gathered today to meet the Irish Angus calves which they will rear for 18 months as part of a unique competition. The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition, run by Irish Angus Producer Group in association with ABP and Kepak, aims to encourage second level students to gain an understanding about the care and attention that is required to produce and market the highest quality beef for consumers.
Following a competitive application process, including presenting to industry judges at a high profile event in Croke Park recently, the successful schools to move forward to the next phase of the competition are: Roscommon Community College; St. Josephs Mercy Secondary School, Navan; Royal School Cavan; St. Ita’s Special School, Drogheda; Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna and Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk.
Speaking about the finalist schools, Charles Smith, General Manager, Irish Angus Producer Group said “It is great to see our finalist groups this year coming from all over the country, from Cavan right down to Cork. There is great variety in their project ideas, from the role of women in agriculture to the challenges of farming on the marginal land in and around County Cavan. Our training day today provides the first opportunity for the groups to meet with the animals and get an insight into what is expected of them throughout this challenging, but incredibly rewarding competition.”
The teams will each receive five Irish Angus Cross calves in September, which they will be required to rear for 18 months until their slaughter in 2020. In addition to rearing the calves, the schools will complete a project focussing on a different aspect of farming and the food chain. These include:
· The Value of Irish Angus in Suckler Systems – Roscommon Community College students Keelan Gallagher, John Cunniffe and Sean Trundle will explore what Angus contributes to suckler systems. The benefits of choosing an Angus bull including how output can be increased, coupled with environmental and animal welfare benefits.
· Women in Agriculture – St. Josephs Mercy Secondary School, Navan students Amy Everard, Francesca McKenna, Saidhbh Gaffney-Bent, Ciara Smith and Katie Tully will research the challenges for women in agriculture, farming as a way of life and the benefits of rearing Irish Angus cattle on a family farm.
· The Value of Irish Angus as a Production System – Royal School Cavan students Kelvin McNally, Sophie Reilly, Barry Stratford, Lloyd Hastings and Rachel Alexander will investigate how the Angus breed is suited to various farming systems and land types, focusing on the challenge of farming marginal land.
· The Quality and Flavour of Irish Angus Beef – St. Ita’s Special School, Drogheda students Conor Belton, Alisha Crosbie and Michael McQuillan will look into what makes Certified Irish Angus Beef superior and the farming activities which can impact the quality of the meat
· Angus Beef Production in Tandem with Nature – Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna students Amy Woods, Katie Thomas and Seamus MacNamara will research the tradition of cattle farming in the Burren region and the suitability of Irish Angus cattle to this unique part of Ireland
· Benefits of Irish Family Farming Systems – Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk students Gillian Casey, Aine O’Connor and Maire Moylan will explore the tradition of family farming in Ireland, its impact on rural communities and the support which the Irish Angus breed can provide to family farming system.
The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition aims to allow students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real-life setting. Each of the finalists will receive the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals to the processors on completion of the project. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.
For further information on the project visit www.angusproducergroup.com