UFU launch post primary agri schools’ competition

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is delighted to launch its first post primary schools’ competition for agriculture pupils, challenging pupils to think about how family farms in Northern Ireland can become more viable and sustainable, ensuring a prosperous future for the next generation.

UFU deputy president John McLenaghan said: “Encouraging the next generation into the agri-industry remains a key focus for the UFU. We recognise the importance of education for our young people as many challenges lie ahead for agriculture.

"We are working to tackle the combined challenge of climate change and producing food to feed a growing population, as well as managing other issues and availing of new technology, while trying to maintain a viable business. Knowledge is critical in supporting farmers to run a profitable business and this competition will provide insight into various areas of the farm enterprise. It will help pupils to investigate alternative revenue streams, diversification and adapting new technologies, whilst enhancing their communication and interpersonal skills – all vital skills in preparation for interviews, college, university and employment.”

The competition, open to pupils in Year 11 – 14 who are part of an agricultural club within school or are studying agriculture as a subject or topic, requires students to work in teams and devise a business proposal to enhance a farming enterprise case study. The new agriculture competition is split into two stages. The first stage is a short video summarising the business proposal, with the second stage comprising of an in-depth presentation followed by a panel question and answer session.

UFU Deputy President John McLenaghan, on his farm near Garvagh. Picture: Cliff DonaldsonUFU Deputy President John McLenaghan, on his farm near Garvagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU Deputy President John McLenaghan, on his farm near Garvagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

“The future of the agriculture industry lies in the hands of the next generation. In Northern Ireland we have a unique family farm structure, and we hope that pupils participating in this competition will gain a greater insight into business management, efficiency and how they can continue farming sustainably.

"Farming has shaped our landscape in Northern Ireland for generations, creating different environments which support our economy, rural communities and tourism, providing ideal landscapes for daily recreation. We have an agri-industry with an abundance of choice when it comes to career pathways from farmers to technicians, nutritionists to vets - the list goes on.

"We hope that pupils participating in the competition will be encouraged to think about the importance of local food production, how we can produce renewable energy, the future of our farming industry and the ways in which we can become more sustainable to ensure farm families have a prosperous future,” said Mr McLenaghan.

The closing date for stage 1 is Friday 12 April 2024. For more information contact UFU communications officer Lynsay Hawkes at [email protected] or (028) 9037 0222.