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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Angus calves for six school groups

Six school groups will progress as finalists in the Certified Irish Angus School’s Competition.

RTÉ broadcaster, Carl Mullan, revealed the names of the schools at a special event at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, earlier this week.

Organised by Certified Irish Angus, in association with its partners ABP and Kepak, the initiative has increased in popularity.

Schools from both urban and rural schools with farming and non-farming backgrounds participate in the competition.

It sees the student groups actively involved in the rearing of five Irish Angus cattle 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.

This year, the organisers received an “overwhelming response” to the competition, with the highest number of entries to date.

Following a long application process and a series of interviews with judges from across the agri-food industry.

Certified Irish Angus School’s Competition

They include:

Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

  • Project theme: ‘Health benefits of eating Angus beef.’

St. Louis’ High School, Rathmines, Co. Dublin

  • Project theme: ‘Reassuring Consumers On Animal Welfare.’

 Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, Co. Galway

  • Project theme: ‘Improving The Quality Of Beef For Consumers.’

Ardscoil Phádraig Granard, Co. Longford

  • Project theme: ‘Adapting Technologies In Breeding.’

Abbey Community College, Boyle, Co. Roscommon

  • Project theme: ‘Sustainable Beef Production.’

Brigid’s Secondary School, Killarney, Co Kerry

  • Project theme: ‘Improving Farm Outcomes Through Education.’
Research project topics

Over the next 18 months, the finalist groups will each rear five Irish Angus calves.

They will also research an important topic that will allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to a real-life setting.

Throughout their projects, the students will learn about relevant aspects of farming.

These include:

  • Sustainable farming practices;
  • Animal welfare;
  • Consumer awareness;
  • Improving technologies in breeding, amongst others.

Charles Smith, general manager for Certified Irish Angus, said: “Standards were extremely high once again this year.”

He said organisers received “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

Competition organisers are seeking “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 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 selling the animals on completion of the project.

The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.

More information

Visit this webpage for information about the competition stages and how to enter.

The closing date for entries is November 19th, 2021.

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