22nd February 2018: A group of 18 secondary school agricultural science students who are taking part in the Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition organised by Irish Angus Producer Group, ABP and Kepak, are today winging their way to The Netherlands to gain first-hand experience about the marketing and export of Certified Irish Angus Beef. The trip includes a visit to Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, a leading importer of Irish beef and Ecofields, an organic veal farm.
The students from Glenamaddy Community School, Galway; Ashbourne Community School, Meath; Davis College, Cork; Laurel Hill Secondary School, Limerick and Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Roscommon began their trip yesterday with a visit to Tesco Ireland where they learned about the promotion of Certified Irish Angus beef on the domestic market, before visiting Bord Bia where they gained insights into the marketing of Irish beef on a global scale.
Charles Smith, General Manager, Irish Angus Producer Group said, “This annual trip is always one of the highlights of the Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition for the students. It allows them to meet with some of the top retailers in Europe to hear about the factors which affect their decision-making process in selecting meat for their consumers. While the students are directly involved in the rearing of their own Angus cattle as part of their project, this experience allows them to see the bigger picture of how the entire food chain works together.”
The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition run by Irish Angus Producer Group, along with its processor partners, 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.
In April 2017, the five school groups were selected by a panel of industry judges to receive and rear five Irish Angus Cross calves until their slaughter in 2019. In addition to rearing the calves, the schools are currently working on the following projects:
1) Mental health and wellbeing among farmers – Glenamaddy Community School, Galway
Cathal Moran and John Duignan are undertaking a project to highlight to farmers the importance of mental health and well-being. This will focus on ways to reduce stress, draw on support from family and the community and achieve a sense of job satisfaction.
2) Viability of Dairy Cross Angus beef production – Ashbourne Community School, Meath
Ella Smyth, David Corry, Hannah Keogh and Kellie Ward are exploring the viability of Dairy Cross Angus Beef production. This includes assessing the benefits for both the dairy and beef farmer, analysing suitability to Irish conditions and best practice for the production of Dairy Cross Angus cattle as calves at grass.
3) Versatility of Certified Irish Angus Beef – Davis College, Cork
Pierce Buckley, Roisin Scully, Emily O’Callaghan and Noah Butler are working on a project to highlight the versatility of Certified Irish Angus Beef for consumers. They will analyse the factors that affect the quality of beef, explore its flavour profile and develop a creative approach to making beef more appealing for families and children.
4) The importance of Irish agriculture – Laurel Hill Secondary School, Limerick
Emily Walsh, Aoibhinn Leahy, Aishling O’Neill, Susan O’Neill and Jane McNamara are undertaking a project to create consumer awareness about the importance of the Irish agricultural industry and the role of farmers. They will also explore the importance of animal welfare, the history of Angus in Ireland and why Irish beef is recognised as superior all over the world.
5) The role of production planning – Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
Ciaran McManus, Dylan Cronin and Conor Murphy are exploring the importance of planning production on farms. They will profile best practice in production systems and assess the suitability of the farming system in relation to land type.
For further information on the project visit www.angusproducergroup.com
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