Six groups of second-level students from right around the country gathered this week 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.
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.
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.