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Wednesday 22 May 2019

Students ditching the books for wellingtons!

Students from Sligo Grammar School are leaving the classroom for the farmyard as they are learning to rear a young calf until it is 18 months old. The group recently met the Irish Angus calves that they will rear as part of a unique competition.

Genevieve Cox, Laura West, Rebecca Harte, Sarah Cunningham, Rosie Wright and Emma O'Gorman from Sligo Grammar School were one of five groups chosen to take part in the schools competition.

The Certified Irish Angus Beef Schools Competition is run by Irish Angus Producer Group in association with ABP and Kepak. It 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. In addition to rearing the calves, the students will complete a research project focussing on a different aspect of farming and the food chain.

The students will explore the 'Improving Irish Angus Genetics and their Benefits', and will address the benefits of the breed for consumers, farmers and other stakeholders including ease of management and lower environmental impact.

The announcement comes after a competitive application process, whereby student groups vying to take place in the competition presented their project ideas to a panel of industry judges at a recent high profile event in Croke Park. The other finalists are Castleknock College; Moate Community School; St. Aloysius College, Carrigtwohill and St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh. The teams will each receive five Irish Angus Cross calves in September, which they will be required to rear for 18 months until their slaughter in 2021.

Charles Smith, General Manager Irish Angus Producer Group said: "We were delighted to bring our students to Dovea Genetics in Thurles today to meet their calves for the first time. It is so encouraging to see such enthusiasm and ambition from students. Our training day today provides an opportunity for the students to meet their calves and fellow finalists, and to get an insight into the valuable experiences and challenges they will face over the next 18 months". Each of the finalists will receive the financial benefit involved in the selling of the animals to the processors on completion of the project. The winning students also receive an additional grant of €2,000 for their further education.

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