06 Oct 2022

Granard students to rear five Angus calves in unique schools competition 

Ardscoil Phadraig

Ardscoil Phádraig, Granard students Tara Spollen, Katelyn Farrell and Ryan Reilly at the National Ploughing Championships last Wednesday

Ardscoil Phádraig, Granard students Tara Spollen, Katelyn Farrell  and  Ryan Reilly  are set to rear Angus calves as part of the Certified Irish Angus school’s competition.

At a special event at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois last week, RTE broadcaster Carl Mullan revealed the six schools that will compete for the overall winners crown and he also presented the students with their calves.

The Longford group join students from  St Louis’ High School, Rathmines; Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew;  Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles; Abbey Community College, Boyle and St Brigid’s Secondary School, Killarney as the finalists for this year’s competition. 

Over the next 18 months, Tara Spollen, Katelyn Farrell and Ryan Reilly will rear five Irish Angus calves while carrying out research on an important l topic.

The Ardscoil Phádraig group will focus on  the ‘Adapting Technologies In Breeding’,  highlighting  how the Angus breed helps increase the environmental efficiency of a farm and the important role consumers play in contributing to a sustainable future.

The Certified Irish Angus school’s competition, in association with its partners ABP and Kepak,  has increased in popularity in recent years with schools excelling from both urban and rural schools with farming and non-farming backgrounds. 

 The unique competition sees the student groups actively involved in the rearing of five Irish Angus cattle in order to allow them to gain an understanding of the care and attention that is required to produce top quality Irish beef under a sustainable family farming system. 

Charles Smith, General Manager for Certified Irish Angus said,  “We are honoured to be welcomed back by the National Ploughing Association for this special event, allowing the school’s competition finalists to meet their Angus calves for the first time. Standards were extremely high once again this year, with brilliant applications received from students of all backgrounds – inner-city schools and groups with rural and farming backgrounds. 

“We are delighted to reveal these six schools as worthy finalists. During the interview stages, these groups stood out to the judges for taking great interest in the agri-food industry and for bringing new perspectives, ideas, and findings to the competition. The next 18 months will be exciting, challenging and rewarding for these students as they navigate their way through the competition.” 

The Next Round 

The competition organisers are looking for enthusiastic Transition Year students across Ireland to be the next finalists of the popular competition.

Each finalist group will receive a once in a lifetime opportunity to rear five Angus calves for 18 months, while preparing a research project on a relevant topic. 

The project themes will cover the important topics of Improving Animal Genetics, Sustainable Agriculture, Farm Health & Safety, Increasing Consumer Awareness of the Quality of Irish Food and in Particular Irish Beef. 

Each of the finalists will receive the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals on completion of the project. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.  

Visit schools  for information about the competition stages and how to enter. The closing date for entries is  November 19, 2021. 

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