A new practical farming competition is giving Northern teenagers the chance to win and rear five Angus calves.

The skills-based competition, which also boasts the potential for large cash prizes, will pit three groups of teenagers against each other as they try to achieve the best profit over an 18-month programme.

They will be responsible for every aspect of the calves' care and will also get insight into the whole farm-to-fork journey of meat production, but they do not need to live on a farm to be able to enter.

Who can enter?

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is run by ABP in association with the Northern Irish Angus Producer Group.

It's open to all Northern Irish 14 to 16 year-olds with a strong interest in agriculture or agri-food production.

But you'll have to be quick to enter - the closing date for receipt of video entries to the ABP Angus Youth Challenge is December 22.

Three finalist teams will be picked after video and interview rounds, and will be introduced to their Aberdeen Angus calves at a ceremony at next year’s Balmoral Show.

The teams will rear their calves through to finishing and can keep the net profit at sale when they are bought by ABP.

The meat producer will also up the ante by adding an additional £1,000 cash prize to the overall winning team's prize fund.

Skills development

All finalists will receive skills development, inductions and insights into the meat production supply chain from farm to retail presentation over the course of an 18-month programme with ABP.

George Mullan, ABP NI managing director explained why ABP had decided to back the initiative.

Having access to the right people with the right skills and mindset about a career in the agri-food sector is going to be crucial to the success of a sustainable local agri-food industry in the years ahead.

He added: "This competition reaches out to enthusiastic young people at a crucial stage in their education when they are thinking about career opportunities open to them.

“Entrants do not need to live on or have access to a farm to take part. We are interested in hearing from young people who can demonstrate a keen interest in getting into agriculture or agri-food production.

“These may be, for example, pupils who are studying for the CCEA GCSE in Agriculture and Land Use.”

Entries will be accepted from teams of between two and five in Years 11 and 12 at school, or aged between 14 and 16.

Teams can choose to represent a local school, club or society.

The competition is also open to ambitious groups of friends who have what it takes to impress the judges.

ABP Angus Youth Challenge

Shortlisting will be based on producing a short video followed by an interview exploring who they are and their understanding of ABP, the Aberdeen Angus breed and their interest in agriculture and food production.

The ABP Angus Youth Challenge builds on the success of ABP’s Farmers of the Future competition which awarded two Northern Ireland secondary school pupils with Angus calves when it ran as a pilot between 2015 and 2017.

The winners - Owen McGreevy from Dromore, and Caleb McHaffey, from Donaghcloney, both in Co. Down - managed to sell the calves back to ABP at a substantial profit gain.

The Irish Angus Producers Group runs a similar, very successful competition in the South.

The Republic of Ireland competition, which is also co-sponsored by ABP, attracts entries from more than 90 schools each year.