Two Lisburn schools compete for finalist place in agri-skills programme

Teams from two local Lisburn schools have taken part in the 2021 ABP Angus Youth Challenge Semi-Final - Friends School and Wallace High School.

Robert Jamison, Supervising Teacher, with ABP Angus Youth Challenge semi-finalists Rachel McEntee, Meabh Quinn and Molly Nelson with Mr Stephen Moore, Principal of Friends School Lisburn

They are competing against nine other teams from schools across Northern Ireland to win a finalist place in ABP Angus Youth Challenge agri-skills development programme.

The role of genetics and grass-based systems in helping reduce carbon emissions from beef farming; the advantage of marketing Northern Ireland’s family farm tradition and animal welfare standards to today’s consumer were just some of the topics presented by the semi-finalists.

Wallace High School is also a contender for the ‘Overall Winning Team’ from the Class of 2019. The other schools participating were Ballymena Academy, (who have another team through to the finalist programme); Cookstown High, who entered two teams; Dalriada School; Enniskillen Royal Grammar who entered two teams and are building on the legacy of the 2019 team who were Runners-up in the competition, the Royal School Armagh; St Kevin’s College in Lisnaskea and finally St Patrick’s Maghera.

Molly Nelson, Rachel McEntee and Meabh Quinn representing Friends School Lisburn in the 2021 ABP Angus Youth Challenge Semi-Final

Congratulating the Friends and Wallace High participants on reaching this year’s semi-final, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan said: ‘‘ABP would like to congratulate all the semi-finalists for taking part in the competition during an exceptionally challenging time in their school-lives. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the schools and their families in helping them prepare so well for the judging interviews.’’

The teams that will progress through to the finalist programme will be announced in June. For those teams that do make it through, their prize from ABP will be winning five Aberdeen Angus cross calves to rear through to finishing over an 18-month skills development programme. They will benefit financially from the sale of their calves to ABP and one overall winning team at the end of the programme will also receive a £1,000 cash prize for their school.

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group. Its General Manager Charles Smith added: ‘‘On behalf of the judging panel, I would like to commend all the pupils for their impressive research into Angus beef production and the passion they demonstrated for many aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich farming and agri-food heritage.’’

Helping judge this year’s semi-final were representatives from the Livestock & Meat Commission NI and the CAFRE.

Ms Barbara McKee, teacher with ABP Angus Youth Challenge semi-finalists Lucy Knight, Neil Simpson and Robynne McKibbin of Wallace High Lisburn
Wallace High School teacher Ms Barbara McKee, teacher with her team Neil Simpson, Robynne McKibbin and Lucy Knight that participated in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge semi-finals online