Five Co. Tyrone schools are competing for a place in the final of the ABP Angus Youth Challenge – a year-long agri-skills development programme for 14- to 15-year-olds.

The school teams from Fivemiletown High School, Auchnacloy College, Cookstown High School, St. Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley and St. Patrick’s College, Dungannon were amongst the 31 school teams in total that took part in the semi-final exhibition held in the Logan Hall, Balmoral Park recently.

The teenagers had to pitch their ideas and knowledge of farming and beef production to a panel of judges in the hope of being one of four teams to make the final stage of the competition, which is organised by the meat processor, ABP, and Certified Irish Angus.

Commenting on the event, George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to see such a range of young people from all over the province taking part from both urban and rural communities.

“Our exhibition offers ambitious teenagers a chance to share their interests and views on agriculture and red meat production with us and other leading representatives of our industry.”

Those that get through to the final stage will win a mini herd of calves to rear and will be able to pocket the proceeds from their sale to ABP.

One overall winning team will also win a further £1,000 cash prize for their school or club.

As part of their finalist development programme, they will be challenged to work on research assignments relating to sustainability with the support of a CAFRE mentor and take part in an international study tour with ABP.

Certified Irish Angus Producer Group’s General Manager, Charles Smith, added: “Alongside ABP, we are committed to developing the next generation of young people who want to work in agriculture and food.

“The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is supporting and promoting pathways into further education and employment in our sector.

“It highlights the various roles and opportunities that exist and it is helping raise the profile of this exciting career choice in schools.”