Four students from Our Lady’s School, Terenure have been announced as the national winners of the Certified Irish Angus Beef schools competition which saw them rear five Irish Angus Cross calves for 18 months. The winning school was announced today at an awards ceremony in Croke Park. The group defied the odds emerging as clear winners in spite of being based in an urban setting, with no farming heritage or previous farming experience.
The winners, Eithne Murray, Tara Frehill, Emily Browne, and Shauna Jager are also among those who will sit the first ever Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate examination in Our Lady’s School, Terenure this June. As part of their winning project, they reared their calves on a farm in Manor Kilbride, Tallaght from September 2015 through to their slaughter in November 2016. They also conducted research and set about increasing market awareness of the benefits of Certified Irish Angus Beef, which they succeeded in doing among their fellow students, teachers, parents, as well as targeted groups at Scifest in Tallaght IT and Bushey Park farmers market.
The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition run by the Irish Angus Producer Group, along with its processor partners, ABP Ireland and Kepak Group, 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. Each year, five school groups are chosen to receive five Irish Angus Cross calves. As part of their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science project the students are required to set milestones through the lifetime of the animals, rear them through to slaughter and visit processing and retail facilities to understand how the food chain works.
Charles Smith, General Manager of the Irish Angus Producer Group said, “From the outset the girls from Our Lady’s School in Terenure demonstrated the ability to take on a challenge and achieve success. The location of their school within such an urban setting brought an added air of excitement and enthusiasm for the project. Even though they are the first class in their school to ever study Agricultural Science for Leaving Certificate, the group exhibited a great appreciation for agriculture and an understanding of the benefits of Certified Irish Angus Beef for the consumer.”
The runners up in the competition were a group from Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick who focussed on the importance of Farm Safety in their project. Other finalists included Ballymahon Vocational School, Longford, Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny and Coláiste Mhuire, Buttevant, Co. Cork.
The project aims to allow students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real life setting. Each of the finalists received the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals to the processors on completion of the project which amounted to an average €6,800. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.
The Irish Angus Producer Group is currently in the process of selecting five new schools, from a shortlist of 34 who presented their project ideas to a group of industry representatives at the Croke Park event today. The judges included representatives from Bord Bia, The Irish Farmers Journal, ABP Food Group, Kepak Group, National Ploughing Association and Tesco.
The five schools who have demonstrated the best understanding of the project will be announced at the beginning of April and will take part in a training day in May to prepare them for caring for the animals. They will be presented with their calves at the National Ploughing Championships in September.
For further information on the project visit www.angusproducergroup.com