16th JULY 2020 - Page 9



FARM WEEK
NEWS
NOVEMBER 23 2017
9
Teens’ success paves way for agri-skills
youth competition launched by ABP
T
HE recent success of two
County Down teenagers
is helping pave the way
for a new wave of entrants
to the ‘ABP Angus Beef
Challenge’.
Farmers of the Future was
launched by ABP at Balmoral Show
in 2015 offering children between
the ages of 12 and 16 years old
the opportunity to demonstrate
their interest in beef production.
It challenged them to give their
perspective on what is meant by the
term: ‘best beef farming practice’.
Following by a pitch to a panel
of industry experts, two winners
were chosen. They were a 12 year
old from outside Magheralin in
Co. Down, called Caleb Haffey and
a 15 years old, Owen McGreevy,
from Dromore, Co. Down. The boys
were awarded six Aberdeen Angus
weanling bullocks to rear and put
their theories into practice.
Both had access to advice from
ABP’s Blade Farming team and
professional veterinary input, when
required.
Caleb Haffey explains: “I want to
follow a career in farming,” he said.
“At home we milk cows. But we also
keep beef cattle and sheep. I have a
small ewe flock of my own, which is
managed as a stand-alone venture.
And I really enjoy this. But to have
the opportunity of managing the
six Angus bullocks from weaning
WINNERS:
Caleb
Haffey, left,
and Owen
McGreevy,
right, winners
of the ABP
Farmers of
the Future
competition,
with Arthur
Callaghan,
ABP Blade
Farming Coordinator.
through to beef really was a dream
come true.”
ABP’s prize fund totalled £7,000
including the cost of the weanlings
and all concentrate feeds. This
year the boys sold their finished
animals to ABP receiving the full
value of the beef at slaughter. ABP
Blade Farming Co-Ordinator Arthur
Callaghan visited the McGreevy
and Haffey farms to help them get
as much growth as possible from
grazed grass and silage. Practices
relating to grassland management
and the implementation of effective
animal health policies were also
explored.
“The results achieved speak for
themselves,” confirmed Arthur
Callaghan. “The final carcase
weights reflect a tremendous
level of performance, and strong
management input on the part
of Owen and Caleb, which any
specialist beef producer would be
proud of.
“Both boys rose to the challenge
and I have no doubt they will
continue to benefit from their
experience.”
The boys are now using their
rewards to invest in their futures.
“For me the priority was getting my
driving test and putting a car on the
road,” said Owen.
“Both those boxes have now been
ticked. With the money left over I
was able to buy a choice Charolais
breeding heifer, which will be put to
the bull over the coming months.”
Caleb, who is now studying for
a GCSE in Agriculture, is also
investing back into the home farm.
“I enjoyed every minute of taking
part in the competition. I have
learnt a lot and I would encourage
as many young people as possible
to take part in the new version of
this competition, the ABP Angus
Youth Challenge.”
“This time,” explains Arthur
Callaghan, “the ABP Angus Youth
Challenge will select three finalist
teams who will be presented with
their calves on our stand at the
150th Balmoral Show in 2018. Like
Caleb and Owen, the finalists will
then be able to develop farming
skills in rearing their calves and
benefit from the net profit gain on
sale of the beef animals to ABP.
“In addition, all finalists will
receive further induction and
insights into the beef production
industry from farm to fork over
an 18 month programme with
ABP. Entrants should be able to
demonstrate a genuine interest
in pursuing a career in agri-food
production. But you don’t have to
live on a farm to take part.”
The ABP Angus Youth Challenge
is now open for entries from 1416 year olds who can represent
a school, club or society or as a
team of between two to five friends.
Shortlisting will be based on a
team video submission followed by
interview. Closing date for entries:
December 22.

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