This year we are doing another raffle to support the Youth Development Programme. The raffles are a great way to help raise funds towards the programme and a great chance to win some amazing prizes. One of the great prizes on offer is a pedigree heifer from the Newcairnie herd, a fantastic prize that was kindly donated by the Society’s current Senior Vice President, Angela McGregor. We caught up with Angela to find out about said heifer and her reasons behind donating such a generous prize.
Why did you decide to put up a heifer for raffle?
During my time on the Council I have seen the hard work that goes into the Youth Development Programme by Gayle and the others, and have been really impressed by what the youngsters get out of it. In the past, there has been questioning over the funding of the YDP workshops and finals as it is free and open to non-Angus breeders. However, when you look in to it, that is one of the things that makes our programme so special. I had a meeting with Gayle and Mark Pilcher, who was Chair of the Committee at the time, and the two of them were so passionate about the programme and stressed the importance of keeping it open and available for anyone. That is why I offered to donate a heifer, to try to raise money so there could be no, or at least less of a case for charging. In the past others have simply donated a heifer which is amazing, but at the time circumstances had changed. Some people say ‘£10 – how much?’ for a raffle ticket, but when you get the chance to win a heifer and help a great programme at the same time, it’s a great investment.
The benefits as I see them
My daughter has started to go to the workshops. She likes anything social and it’s a great confidence booster. We do not show, so she’s not had much in the way of practice at home. Although I can break cattle (Gayle would probably say – ‘well, sort of!’) it’s a whole different job, maybe if they had had this in my day I would have got into showing! I’ve attended about 6 workshops now just to see what’s happening. The looks on the kids’ faces, especially the younger or less experienced, when they manage to walk an animal and someone says ‘well done’, it’s amazing. The trainers that attend do so just for that. They don’t get paid, they do it because they know they can impact the lives of the youngsters, giving them great experience and knowledge. They encourage them to do more and hopefully look at Aberdeen-Angus in a new light. This has happened with some of our attendees who have bought their own cattle and started up themselves, it’s great that everyone can learn from each other. The social aspect is also great, the youngsters are all so enthusiastic and have great fun. They are eager to learn and go forward with our breed, the workshops give them confidence in whatever they do. It keeps it real, and the people you meet are all brilliant. The Forum was another eye opener for those taking part. You see how ‘worldwide’ our industry really is. It’s easy to make friends when you have something in common and travel and broaden your horizons. There are just so many benefits from a personal and practical point of view, but also academically with the qualification on offer. We had a girl from my son’s school wanting practical experience as she wants to be a vet, so she attended the training day and has since started to do the City Guilds qualification. Hopefully that will give her the edge, the extra couple of UCAS points will help to differentiate her from the rest.
This is where I have difficulty! Rather than pick one animal, I will give the winner the choice. The heifers have been out running with Gear Editor S367 (UK384042 200367) and a few of the ones you can choose from are; UK530173 400556/ UK530173 300583/ UK530173 600572/ UK530173 700538/ UK530173 300576/ UK530173 500599/ UK530173 400563. If for some reason the winner cannot take a live heifer I could do one for the freezer instead and process it through the shop!
We hope to see the programme go from strength to strength and both the practicality and qualification have real value for all who take part. The final weekend is almost upon as and we have 35 finalists taking part this year. I love watching them all enjoy the events so much and there will always be a part of me that wishes I could do what they do! This year will be the first time I have managed to attend a final, so I am looking forward to seeing the action first hand. It’s great to have the chance to build relationships with all the participants over the years and I have no doubt we will be seeing much more of them in the future, which is a testament to all the hard work that everyone puts in. It’s a fantastic programme and I would encourage anyone to support it through either attending and sharing your knowledge, encouraging youngsters to attend, by holding a workshop or simply by turning up at workshops and supporting those taking part.
There is still time for you all to get involved and buy a raffle ticket. You can either contact a member of the team from the office or pick up your ticket at the final on the 23rd of September.
We would like to thank Angela for taking the time to speak to us and for her very generous prize! We encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so, to get involved with this raffle. Not only is there a magnificent prize on offer, but you will be contributing to a very important cause that is doing great things for our breed and the industry in general!