At a special event at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois on September 15th 2021, RTE broadcaster Carl Mullan revealed the six schools that will progress as finalists in the Certified Irish Angus school’s competition. The initiative organised by Certified Irish Angus in association with its partners ABP and Kepak has increased in popularity in recent years with schools excelling from both urban and rural schools with farming and non-farming backgrounds.
The unique competition sees the student groups actively involved in the rearing of five Irish Angus cattle in order to allow them to gain an understanding of the care and attention that is required to produce top quality Irish beef under a sustainable family farming system.
This year, the organisers received an overwhelming response to the competition, receiving the highest number of entries to date. Following a long application process and a series of interviews with judges from across the agri-food industry, six schools have today been revealed as finalists. They include:
Over the next 18 months, the finalist groups will each rear five Irish Angus calves while carrying out research on an important topic that will allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real-life setting. Throughout their projects, the students will learn about relevant aspects of farming including sustainable farming practises, animal welfare, consumer awareness, improving technologies in breeding and more.
Speaking about the event Charles Smith, General Manager for Certified Irish Angus said,: “We are honoured to be welcomed back today by the National Ploughing Association for this special event, allowing the school’s competition finalists to meet their Angus calves for the first time. Standards were extremely high once again this year, with brilliant applications received from students of all backgrounds – inner-city schools and groups with rural and farming backgrounds.
We are delighted to reveal these six schools as worthy finalists today. During the interview stages, these groups stood out to the judges for taking great interest in the agri-food industry and for bringing new perspectives, ideas, and findings to the competition. The next 18 months will be exciting, challenging and rewarding for these students as they navigate their way through the competition.”
The competition organisers are looking for enthusiastic Transition Year students across Ireland to be the next finalists of the popular competition. Each finalist group will receive a once in a lifetime opportunity to rear five Angus calves for 18 months while preparing a research project on a relevant topic. The project themes will cover the important topics of Improving Animal Genetics, Sustainable Agriculture, Farm Health & Safety, Increasing Consumer Awareness of the Quality of Irish Food and in Particular Irish Beef.
Each of the finalists will receive the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals on completion of the project. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.
Visit www.certifiedirishangus.ie/schools for information about the competition stages and how to enter. The closing date for entries is 19th November 2021.