For the second year a unique contest is being held to test the skills, knowledge and abilities of teams and individual young beef farmers at this year’s National Beef Association (NBA) Beef Expo.
This inaugural competition, The Future Beef Farmer Challenge, was launched in 2015 and was the first of its kind in the UK and this year the NBA are encouraging beef farmers aged 36 and under from across Northern Ireland to take part.
The Challenge will be run in association with AHDB Beef and Lamb, Carrs Billington, XL Vets and Derbyshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, as part of the beef industry’s showcase event at Bakewell Auction Mart on Friday May 20th.
Entrants can take part either as a team or as an individual. Teams must pre-register their entry and The Team Challenge is open to teams of two to four members, aged from 16 to 26. The Individual Challenge is for individuals aged between 16 and 36. Applications must be made in advance by either completing the form on the NBA website or by contacting the AHDB Beef and Lamb Northern Office on 01904 771214. All will face four challenges at four sponsored stands, where they will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of breeding and genetics, cattle health, nutrition and cattle selection for slaughter.
The winning team will be awarded the NBA’s Duke of Northumberland Trophy, and the winning individual, last year presented to 25 year old James Bonner from Northampton, will receive the NBA Frank Momber Memorial Trophy. There are a range of other prizes for first, second and third places, including Yorkshire Show tickets, vouchers to attend workshops and goody bags.
Members of last year’s winning team ‘Askham Agrics’, made up of sisters Emily and Amanda Watson from Durham, Becky Green from Derbyshire and Nicola Terry from Ripon have already shown their interest in competing individually this year.
NBA Director, Chris Mallon, said: “We were delighted with the success of Future Beef Farmer Challenge last year which attracted a high level of interest from both individuals and teams. To move forward within the industry it is very important to have an in-depth knowledge of the beef sector at both a practical and a scientific level. This competition is designed to challenge both, and we are delighted that it is to become such an integral part of our annual NBA Beef Expo.
“Encouraging the next generation of progressive beef farmers is hugely important for the future sustainability of the industry, and it’s something we at the NBA are very keen to support.”
The Livestock Selection Challenge is to correctly classify four finished cattle using the EUROP grid. Points will be awarded for identifying the correct conformation and fat class. This challenge will use four steers, which have been chosen in conjunction with the Derbyshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs to be representative of today’s British beef industry.
The AHDB challenge will look at breeding and genetics. Competitors will be asked a series of questions and then asked to compare the EBVs of a number of bulls, and select the most appropriate choice in different scenarios.
XL Vets has set a multiple choice health question test, covering a range of issues including the biosecurity measures to turn a farm into a fortress against viruses and disease as well as the safe use of medicines.
Finally, Carrs Billington will test entrants on their nutrition knowledge, asking them to identify seven straight feeds and decide whether each is primarily a source of fibre, energy or protein and then four beef diets and there most appropriate use.
Organiser of this part of NBA Beef Expo and a member of the event’s management committee Steve Dunkley, Senior Regional Manager from AHDB, said: “There is a tremendous calibre of young beef farmers, and last year’s Future Beef Farmer Challenge demonstrated the tremendous ability of the younger generation, and that they are our future industry stalwarts.”
“This competition is specifically designed to identify a number of forward thinking, younger beef farmers that we as industry organisations can get behind, support and help develop and we are looking forward to meeting many more of these individuals at Bakewell this year.”
Teams interested in entering must pre-register by May 6th by either completing the form on the NBA website http://www.nationalbeefassociation.com/beef-expo/competitions/future-beef-farmer-challenge/ or by contacting the AHDB Beef and Lamb Northern Office on 01904 771214.