Cookstown pupils win Aberdeen calves

Cookstown High School have become this year’s ABP Angus Youth Challenge finalists.

The team of William Hamilton, John-Mark McCrea and Ben Smyton, Year 11 had to fight off tough competition from other schools and youth groups to lift the coveted award, and the prize of five Angus calves!

The competition consists of a video entry followed by a challenging interview, but the boys from Cookstown held their own.

The judges from ABP and the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group were impressed by their pitch to encourage Agriculture and Agri-food among the youth.

Cookstown High School pupils Ben Smyton, William Hamilton and John Mark McCrea receive their ABP Angus Youth Challenge finalist trophy alongside teacher Robyn Stewart. Also on the stage is George Mullan, ABP Managing Director, Martin McKendry, CAFRE College Director and Charles Smith, NI Angus Producer Group.

On Friday, the team received their prize at the Balmoral Show grounds. They had a fantastic day, mingling with professionals from Northern Irelands Agri-food sector.

The team are looking forward to rearing the cattle, although they anticipate a big work load ahead, especially as they begin the final year of their GCSEs.

They have also been tasked with explaining and promoting sustainable farming among their peers.

They have already started to muck-in with farm visits, TB testing and a visit to Ballytrea Primary.

A second team of Nicole Badger, Zara Lyttle and Kendra Wilson made it to the semi-final.

However, they very narrowly missed out on a place in the final. Their effort and enthusiasm were highly commended by the judges.

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is organised in partnership with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group.

Its General Manager Charles Smith said “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.”


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