At today’s National Ploughing Championships, RTÉ Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan met with five second-level school groups and presented them with the passports for the five Irish Angus Cross calves which they will today bring home with them to rear as part of a unique secondary schools’ competition.
The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition run by the Irish Angus Producer Group, along with its processor partners, ABP Ireland and Kepak aims to encourage second level students to gain an understanding about the considerable care and attention that is required to produce and market the highest quality beef for consumers.
Teams from St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh Co. Mayo; Moate Community School, Co. Westmeath; Sligo Grammar School; St. Aloysius College, Co. Cork and Castleknock College, Co. Dublin were selected following a competitive process earlier this year to receive the Irish Angus calves to rear for the next 18 months until their eventual slaughter in 2019. In addition to rearing the calves, the schools will complete a project focussing on a different aspect of farming and the food chain:
- Sligo Grammar School students Genevieve Cox, Laura West, Rebecca, Harte, Sarah Cunningham, Rosie Wright and Emma O’Gorman will explore the theme ‘Viability of Dairy Cross Angus Beef Production’ and will address the benefits of the breed for consumers, farmers and other stakeholders including ease of management and lower environmental impact.
- St Louis CS Kiltimagh students John Connaughton, Ava Charlton, Nathan Hession, Orlaith Gilmartin, James Cunnane will research the theme ‘Farming Traditions and Environmental Challenges in the West’ which will explore the value of farming to the community, the suitability of Irish Angus to farming systems in the West of Ireland and how farmers can improve their carbon footprint.
- Moate Community School students Christopher Kerrigan, Lorna Eagney, Sarah Murray and Conor O’Brien will focus on the theme of ’Maximising the benefit of membership of Irish Angus Producer Group’. They will do this by exploring the history of the Irish Angus breed and the value the Irish Angus Producer Group adds to assist farmers in rearing high-quality beef for Consumers.
- St. Aloysius College Carrigtwohill students Emily O’Donovan, Kelsey Hourigan, Helen Savage, Leah Buckley and Rachel O’Gorman will explore the theme ‘Communicating with the Consumer & Produce’, which will investigate how the methods of communication have changed between farmers and consumers, and how the rise of social media has enhanced the communicative possibilities through the provision of open communication lines.
- Castleknock College students Josh Lovely, Iarla Nolan and Jordan Greiner had the theme ‘The benefits of eating beef as part of balance diet’. They will explore how the Certified Irish Angus brand can meet consumer needs and provide quality nutritional value to Irish diets.
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.